Good morning and happy Monday. I hope you enjoyed the last week of September, and were able to catch the blood moon last night – it was incredible. Anyway, this week Wordsmith will be featuring single-syllable words; relaying a message in just a few letters (the first word is also one of the oldest we’ve covered).

dint (dint)

noun: 1. force, power. 2. a dent.
verb transitive: to make a dent or drive in with force.

From Old English dynt (blow). Earliest documented use: 897

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“Holding the [water] can with both my hands, I sharply brought it up against a hook. A good dint. I did it again. Another dint next to the first. By dint of dinting, I managed the trick. A pearl of water appeared.”
Yann Martel; Life of Pi; Knopf; 2001.

moil (moyl)

verb intransitive: 1. to work hard; to toil. 2. to churn.
verb transitive: to make wet or muddy.
noun: 1. hard work. 2. confusion or turmoil.

From Old French moillier (to moisten), from Latin mollis (soft). Ultimately from the Indo-European root mel- (soft), which also gave us malt, melt, mollify, smelt, enamel, and schmaltz. Earliest documented use: 1611

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold.”
Robert W. Service; The Cremation of Sam McGee; 1907.

“There I am, look, down there, fighting for air in the heave and moil of the lunchtime working crowd, the only unsuited citizen, wondering which way to go.”
Giles Coren; Eating Out; The Times (London, UK); Oct 15, 2011

guff (guf)

noun: 1. nonsense
2. insolent talk

Perhaps imitative. Earliest documented use: 1825

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“Management literature is full of guff about how entrepreneurs should embrace failure as a ‘learning experience’. But being punched in the face is also a learning experience.”
Entrepreneurs Anonymous; The Economist (London, UK); Sep 20, 2014.

weft (weft)

noun: the threads that run across the width of a woven fabric and are interlaced through the warp (threads that run lengthwise).

From Old English wefta (weft). Ultimately from the Indo-European root webh- (to weave; to move quickly), which also gave us weave, webster, waffle, wave, waver, and wobble.
Earliest documented use: 725

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“Keevy has woven the threads of jealousy, love, fear, and belonging into a strong weft of intimacy.”
The Ties That Bind Us Can Be Gossamer Thin; Cape Times (Cape Town, South Africa); May 20, 2015.

“It is part of the warp and weft, the action and reaction, of team sport.”
Will Tipperary Hurlers Crack Waterford Code?; Irish Examiner (Cork, Ireland); Apr 18, 2015.

quaff (kwof)

verb transitive, intransitive: to drink deeply
noun: an alcoholic drink; also the act of drinking.

Of unknown origin, probably imitative. Earliest documented use: 1521

“The cocktail repertoire includes quaffs spiked with seasonal produce.”
Fritz Hahn and Becky Krystal; Endless? If Only; The Washington Post; Aug 28, 2015.

“Brits quaffing posh bubbly have helped French drinks group Pernod Ricard to merrier profits.”
Graham Hiscott; Corking Sales of French Fizz; The Daily Mirror (London, UK); Aug 28, 2015.

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