Daily Content Archive

(as of Monday, August 28, 2017)
Word of the Day

acerbic

Definition:(adjective) Sharp or biting, as in character or expression.
Synonyms:blistering, caustic, acid, vitriolic, acerb, acrid, sulfurous, virulent, bitter
Usage: The comedienne's acerbic wit drew laughs from the crowd, though some found her jokes offensive.
Daily Grammar Lesson

[sic]

When a quotation contains a mistake, such as a spelling mistake or grammatical error, but we wish to preserve the quotation exactly as it was written, we can mark it with the word "sic" (Latin for "thus" or "so") in brackets to let the reader know that the error was not our own. When should this generally be used? More...
Article of the Day

Et in Arcadia Ego: I Am Also in Arcadia

"Et in Arcadia Ego" is a Latin phrase that most famously appears as the title of two highly influential 17th-century paintings depicting shepherds from classical antiquity gathered around an austere tomb. The phrase is usually interpreted as "I am also in Arcadia," and its purpose is to set up an ironic contrast between mortality and idle merriment. Recently, however, the phrase has been used in conspiracy theories and interpreted to mean what? More...
This Day in History

First Issue of Scientific American Magazine Is Published (1845)

In 1845, Rufus Porter—an eccentric inventor, painter, and editor—published the first issue of Scientific American, a weekly newspaper about new inventions. By 1853, its circulation had reached 30,000 and it was reporting on various sciences, such as astronomy and medicine. In 1921, it became a monthly. Its solidly-researched, well-written articles, accompanied by illustrations and explanations, have made it a highly regarded publication. How much did the first subscriptions cost? More...
Today's Birthday

William Robertson Davies (1913)

Davies was one of Canada's most distinguished writers. Educated at Oxford, he produced more than 30 works of fiction throughout his long literary career, as well as plays, essays, and criticism. Among the themes explored in his densely plotted novels are life's moral dimensions and the isolation of the spirit. He is best known for his three novel trilogies dealing with life and culture in fictional Ontario villages. What innovative technology, considered indispensible today, did he proudly shun? More...
Quotation of the Day
Cruelty is the law pervading all nature and society; and we can't get out of it if we would.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Idiom of the Day

in the last analysis

When everything has been considered; when all the facts are known or the truth has come to light. More...
Today's Holiday

Feast of St. Augustine of Hippo (2017)

St. Augustine is best known for his spiritual autobiography, the Confessions, which details the excesses of his youth, his career as a teacher of rhetoric, his years as a believer in Manicheism and Platonism, and his belated conversion to Christianity. It is primarily for his writings that he is known as the patron saint of theologians and scholars, and one of the "Four Latin Fathers" of the Christian Church. When Spanish soldiers landed on the coast of Florida on St. Augustine's Day in 1565, they named the U.S.'s oldest European community after him. More...
Word Trivia

Today's topic: recognize

recognition mark - A distinctive one that makes an animal or bird easy to recognize by others of the same species. More...

cognizance - Latin gnoscene, "know," begat cognoscere, "get to know; recognize," and it moved through French connoissance to English to become cognizance. More...

sentence sense - The ability to recognize a grammatically complete sentence. More...

appreciate, recognize, understand - The use of "appreciate" should involve valuing something or understanding it sympathetically; when there is no value or sympathy, use "recognize" or "understand"; appreciate first meant "set at a price; appraised." More...

In the News

Life cycle of the mysterious and long-dead dodo revealed by bone study

The long-extinct dodo has inspired a panoply of research, but until now much of its life cycle has been a mystery. Photograph: Kevin Webb/The Natural History Museum, Lond. Extinct wildlife. Life cycle of the mysterious and long-dead dodo revealed by ... More...
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