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Word of the Day

abbess

Definition: (noun) The superior of a group of nuns.
Synonyms: mother superior, prioress
Usage: The abbess welcomed the novice to the convent with a warm smile, putting her immediately at ease.
Article of the Day

The Matchlock

Invented in the 15th century, the matchlock was the first mechanical device for igniting gunpowder and a major advance in small-arms manufacture. It consisted of an S-shaped arm designed to hold a lit match and a trigger that would lower it into a flash pan and ignite the priming powder that would then ignite the main charge. Though slow and rather clumsy, the matchlock allowed users to keep both hands on the weapon and both eyes on the target when firing. What eventually replaced the matchlock? More...
Daily Grammar Lesson

The Present Participle

The present participle is the "-ing" form of a verb. This verb form is always the same, whether the verb is regular or irregular. What is the present participle of the irregular verb "run"? More...
Idiom of the Day

tell (someone's) fortune

To (profess to) anticipate and inform someone about certain outcomes or events in his or her near or distant future. More...

This Day in History

Billionaire's Grandson Found Alive—But Maimed—after Kidnapping (1973)

In 1973, 16-year-old John Paul Getty III—grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty—was kidnapped in Rome. His family initially dismissed a $17-million ransom demand as a joke by the rebellious teen, but a second note convinced his father to ask J. Paul to pay it. He refused. The frustrated kidnappers then cut off John's ear and sent it along with a note saying he would "arrive in little pieces" if their demands were not met. At this, the elder Getty relented, paying over $2 million on what condition? More...
Today's Birthday

Ludwig Lazarus "L. L." Zamenhof (1859)

Born and raised in Bialystok, a city on the Polish-Russian border populated by Poles, Germans, and Belarusians, Zamenhof was profoundly affected by the ethnic conflict he witnessed all around him. In his estimation, the primary cause of such conflict was mutual misunderstanding. Thus, he reasoned, removing communication barriers would foster peace. To this end, the young doctor and linguist devoted himself to developing an international language called "Esperanto," which means what? More...
Today's Holiday

Bill of Rights Day (2018)

The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution of 1787—referred to collectively as the Bill of Rights—were ratified on December 15, 1791. This landmark document protected American citizens from specific abuses by their government and guaranteed such basic rights as the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated December 15 as Bill of Rights Day and called upon Americans to observe it with appropriate patriotic ceremonies. More...
Quote of the Day
Children have a natural antipathy to books--handicraft should be the basis of education. Boys and girls should be taught to use their hands to make something, and they would be less apt to destroy and be mischievous.
Oscar Wilde
(1854-1900)
Grammar Quiz
Word Trivia

Today's topic: vote

co-opt - "To select (someone) for a group or club by a vote of members," it is from Latin cooptare, "to choose as a colleague or member of one's tribe"; its sense of "take over" came by 1953. More...

ostracism - In ancient Greece, when it was proposed that a person be sent into exile, a vote was taken and the method of registering the vote involved putting the name on a piece of broken pottery called ostrakon; casting the vote was ostrakizein, giving us English ostracism. More...

red state, blue state - A red state is any U.S. state that tends to vote for candidates of the Republican party in a general election; a blue state votes for Democratic candidates. More...

chirotonize - To elect by voting or to vote. More...

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