#42. Obverse


(letters – 7 | syllables – 2)
(scrabble score – 12)

1 |noun| the more conspicuous of two alternatives.
2 |noun| the side of a coin or medal bearing the principal design.
(Wolfram Alpha)


1 adjective| having the base narrower than the top

2|adjective| constituting the obverse of something.

Origins of Obverse (adj.)

“turned toward the observer, frontal,” 1650s, from Latin obversus “turned against, directed toward,” past participle of obvertere “to turn toward or against,” from ob “toward” (see ob-) + vertere “to turn” (see versus). According to OED, not in common use until the end of the 18th century. The noun, in reference to coins, medals, etc. (opposite of reverse), is attested from 1650s. Related: Obversely

Posted in obverse, One Word Each Day, Words | Tagged ,

#41 Biophoton


(letters – 9 | syllables – 4)
(scrabble score – 16)

|noun| (biology, physics) a low-energy photon emitted from a biological source (but not by bioluminescence)
(Wolfram Alpha)

Sun in the sky

Setting Sun sets the Desert Alight


|noun| A photon of light emitted in the very weak radiation produced by the cells of a living organism.

Origins of Biophoton

1980s; earliest use found in Nature: a weekly journal of science

We are still on the threshold of fully understanding the complex relationship between light and life, but we can now say emphatically, that the function of our entire metabolism is dependent on light.”

Prof. Fritz-Albert

Biophoton emission is the spontaneous emission of ultraweak light emanating from all living systems, including man. The emission is linked to the endogenous production of excited states within the living system. The detection and characterisation of human biophoton emission has led to suggestions that it has potential future applications in medicine.
Photon emission recording techniques have reached a stage that allows resolution of the signal in time and space. The published material is presented and includes aspects like spatial resolution of intensity, its relation to health and disease, the aspect of colour, and methods for analysis of the photon signal.

Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd.
This discovery may indeed be the key to understanding man’s place in the world.  If we give off late by the nature of orexistence, then it stands to reason that light is indeed what we are made of at a conscious level.  For more on Biophotons, see this article:

M.I.T. Technology ReviewSunlight Apollos burning crown

Posted in biophotons, One Word Each Day | Tagged , ,

#40. Threshold


(9 letters |2 syllables)
(scrabble score – 16)

1 |noun| the starting point for a new state or experience.
2 |noun| the smallest detectable sensation.
3 |noun| the entrance (the space in a wall) through which you enter or leave a room or building; the space that a door can close.
4 |noun| the sill of a door; a horizontal piece of wood or stone that forms the bottom of a doorway and offers support when passing through a doorway.
5 | noun | a region marking a boundary.
(Wolfram Alpha)

|noun|the plank, stone, or piece of timber that lies under a door : sill gate, door.
|noun| end, boundary; specifically : the end of a runway
|noun| the place or point of entering or beginning : outset
|noun| the point at which a physiological or psychological effect begins to be produced.
|noun| a level, point, or value above which something is true or will take place and below which it is not or will not.(Merriam-Webster)

Origin and Etymology of Threshold

Old English þrescold, þærscwold, þerxold, etc., “door-sill, point of entering,” of uncertain origin and probably much altered by folk-etymology. The first element probably is related to Old English þrescan (see thresh), either in its current sense of “thresh” or with its original sense of “tread, trample.” Second element has been much transformed in all the Germanic languages, suggesting its literal sense was lost even in ancient times. In English it probably has been altered to conform to hold. Liberman (Oxford University Press blog, Feb. 11, 2015) revives an old theory that the second element is the Proto-Germanic instrumental suffix *-thlo and the original sense of threshold was a threshing area adjacent to the living area of a house. Cognates include Old Norse þreskjoldr, Swedish tröskel, Old High German driscufli, German dialectal drischaufel. Figurative use was in Old English.”

liminal (adj.)
“of or pertaining to a threshold,” 1870, from Latin limen “threshold, cross-piece, sill” (see limit (n.)) + -al (1). Related: Liminality

Middle English thresshold, from Old English threscwald; akin to Old Norse threskjǫldr threshold, Old English threscan to thresh

First Known Use: before 12th century(?)

“The earliest known use of ‘threshold‘ in the English language is from Alfred the Great’s Old English translation of the Roman philosopher Boethius’s De consolatione philosophiae. In this translation, which was written around 888, ‘threshold’ appears as ‘þeorscwold’ (that first letter is called a thorn and it was used in Old English and Middle English to indicate the sounds produced by “th” in ‘thin’ and ‘this’). The origins of this Old English word are not known, though it is believed to be related to Old English ‘threscan’ from which we get the words thresh, meaning “to separate seed from (a harvested plant) using a machine or tool” and ‘thrash,’ meaning, among other things “to beat soundly with or as if with a stick.”

Bloggers Note:

I recently discovered ‘threshold concept’ in education and was immediately taken with its implications. Threshold concepts are areas of learning within disciplines where the student traditionally has a very hard time progressing through or moving beyond because  they require a change in understanding about the concept as a whole and sometimes even a change in the learner themselves. Threshold concepts are described as:

  1. integrative
  2. transformative
  3. irreversible
  4. bounded
  5. troublesome

    These concepts, once learned cannot be unlearned and while resulting in a much deeper understanding fundamentally, they can also cause many problems for the learner including a deep unease.  


    Posted in One Word Each Day, threshold, threshold experience | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

    #39. Transmute


    (letters – 9|syllables- 3)
    (scrabble score – 11)

    1 |verb| change in outward structure or looks
    2 |verb| change or alter in form, appearance, or nature
    3 |verb| alter the nature of (elements)
    (Wolfram Alpha)

    Transmute: change in form, nature, or substance.
    [WITH OBJECT] Subject (base metals) to alchemical transmutation:
    the quest to transmute lead into gold.
    (Oxford Dictionary)

    to convert or transform the type of ownership of (property) by transmutation


    Origin and Etymology of Transmute:

    Late Middle English: from Latin transmutare, from trans- ‘across’ + mutare ‘to change’.

    transmute (v.)
    late 14c., “transform the appearance of,” from Latin transmutare “to change” (see transmutation). Related: Transmuted; transmuting.

    intransmutable (adj.)
    1690s, from in- (1) “not, opposite of” + transmute (v.) + -able). Related: Intransmutably; intransmutability.

    Posted in Alchemy, One Word Each Day, transmute | Tagged , ,

    #38. Fecund

    #38. Fecund

    ( 6 letters | 2 syllables)
    (scrabble score – 12)

    1 |adjective| capable of producing offspring or vegetation.
    2| adjective| intellectually productive. Prolific.
    (Wolfram Alpha)
    Fruitful in offspring or vegetation.
    Intellectually productive or inventive to a marked degree.

    1. Producing or capable of producing an abundance of offspring or new growth; fertile.
    2 –Of a woman or women – capable of becoming pregnant and giving birth.
    (Oxford Dictionary)

    Origin and Etymology

    • First known use 1420
    • Late Middle English: from French fécond or -Latin fecundus ‘fruitful’.
      fecund (adj.)
      a 16c. Latinizing revision of the spelling of Middle English fecond (early 15c.), from Middle French fecond (Old French fecont “fruitful”), from Latin fecundus “fruitful, fertile, productive; rich, abundant,” from *fe-kwondo-, suffixed form (adjectival) of Latin root *fe-, corresponding to PIE *dhe(i)- “to suck, suckle,” also “produce, yield.

    Fecundity (n.)
    early 15c., from Latin fecunditatem (nominative fecunditas) “fruitfulness, fertility,” from fecundus “fruitful, fertile” (see fecund).

    A Note from Merriam-Webster:
    “Fecund and its synonyms ‘fruitful’ and ‘fertile’ all mean producing or capable of producing offspring or fruit, literally or figuratively. ‘Fecund’ applies to things that yield offspring, fruit, or results in abundance or with rapidity (‘a fecund herd’; ‘a fecund imagination’). ‘Fruitful’ emphasizes abundance, too – and often adds the implication that the results attained are desirable or useful – (‘fruitful plains’; ‘a fruitful discussion’). ‘Fertile’ implies the power to reproduce (‘a fertile woman’) or the power to assist in reproduction, growth, or development (‘fertile soil’; “a fertile climate for artists’).”

    Bloggers Note:

    Having failed to remember the definition of ‘fecund‘ for what I hope is the last time, I now include it in One Word Each Day.The reason for the failing is, I daresay, the same reason that the Merriam-Webster site took pains to explain how ‘fecund‘ might be a less effective choice than ‘fruitful,’ its synonym. The esteemed Dictionary was too couth to be overt with that reason, so allow me.

    feces(US) /faeces (UK): Waste matter remaining after food has been digested, discharged from the bowels; excrement.

    Seeing and saying the word ‘fecund’ inevitably steer my mind toward the excremental implication of the entirely alternate term ‘feces.’ The power of ‘feces‘ repels audiences, which in itself is interesting. Etymological study brings little transparency:

    feces (n.)
    also faeces, c. 1400, “dregs,” from Latin faeces “sediment, dregs,” plural of faex (genitive faecis) “grounds, sediment, wine-lees, dregs,” which is of unknown origin. Specific sense of “human excrement” is from 1630s in English but is not found in classical Latin. Hence Latin faex populi “the dregs of the people; the lowest class of society.”

    defecate (v.)
    1570s, “to purify,” from Latin defaecatus, past participle of defaecare “cleanse from dregs, purify,” from the phrase de faece “from dregs” (plural faeces; see feces). Excretory sense first recorded 1830 (defecation), American English, from French.

    Apparently, somewhere in the fuzzy lines of history the word ‘feces‘ or ‘faeces‘ leaped forward in its morphing from what might have been a future where it was used only by specialists, into a sign so repulsive that it alters other terms that merely look or sound like it.
    The magic of words lies not in the their changing definitions, but in the meanings derived from those definitions and external factors. Definition is simply the surface form or outline of a word. The meaning provides the worsd’s weight or gravity. The meaning of feces, to my mind, acts as anchor dragging other words along with it to the soggy bottoms the mind’s recesses. ‘Fecund,’ I fear;is but a casualty the dark magic that has been played upon ‘feces.’

    • j
    Posted in fecund, One Word Each Day | Tagged , , ,

    #37 Numeracy


    (8 letters | 4 syllables)
    (scrabble score – 15)| noun| skill with numbers and mathematics.
    (Wolfram Alpha)

    b: The ability to understand and work with numbers.

    Oxford Dictionaries


    the capacity for quantitative thought and expression.

    Popularity: Bottom 20% of word

    Origin and Etymology of “numeracy”

    Latin numerus number + English -acy (as in literacy)
    First Known Use: 1959



    1957, from numerate (adj.), from Latin numeratus “counted out,” from numerus “a number” (see number (n.) on model of literacy, etc.

    Blogger’s Note

    Whilst reading through a truly fascinating document entitled:Threshold Concepts and Transformational Learning I took note of this particular question:

    I was stunned. How had the term “numeracy” escaped our chance encounter for so very long? Further researching, I discovered a host even more interesting words related my original find, such as:

    Innumeracy: mathatical illitercy

    Acalculia: acquired impairment in which patients have difficulty performing simple mathematical tasks.

    Dyscalculia: difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic.

    Oracy: skill of speaking and listening.

    It is rare to come acoss an entire discipline of virgin knowleddge and I’ve been excited by the discovery.

    Incidentally, I am now a member of the the National Numeracy Network of the UK, as well as being a NumeracyNinja. I recommend both organizations if you are looking for a few math games and more email each month.

    • j
    Posted in numeracy, One Word Each Day | Tagged , | 1 Comment

    #36. Euhemerism


    (10 letters | 4 syllables)
    (Scrabble score – 17)

    1. the theory that gods arose out of the deification of historical heroes.
    2. any interpretation of myths that derives the gods from outstanding men and seeks the source of mythology in history.

    Collins Dictionary

    :interpretation of myths as traditional accounts of historical persons and events.


    First Known Use: 1846

    A theory attributing the origin of the gods to the deification of historical heroes.


    “Euhemerism is an approach to the interpretation of mythology in which mythological accounts are presumed to have originated from real historical events or personages. Euhemerism supposes that historical accounts become myths as they are exaggerated in the retelling, accumulating elaborations and alterations that reflect cultural mores. It was named for the Greek mythographer Euhemerus.”



    1846, “the method of regarding myths as glorified accounts of actual events or persons,” with -ism + name of Euhemerus, Greek philosopher of Sicily (4c. B.C.E.), who wrote “Iera Anagraphe,” in which he maintained the Greek deities actually were historical mortals. His name is literally “good day,” from eu “well, good” (see eu-) + hemera “day” (see ephemera). Related: Euhemerist; euhemeristic.

    (Ancient Greek: Ευήμερος,
    “happy; prosperous”, also transliterated Euemeros or Evemerus; pronounced Evimeros in Modern Greek; late 4th century BC), was a Greek mythographer at the court of Cassander, the king of Macedon. Euhemerus‘ birthplace is disputed, with Messina in Sicily as the most probable location, while others champion Chios or Tegea.The philosophy attributed to and named for Euhemerus, euhemerism, holds that many mythological tales can be attributed to historical persons and events, the accounts of which have become altered and exaggerated over time. Euhemerus’s work combined elements of fiction and political utopianism. In the ancient world he was considered an atheist. Early Christian writers, such as Lactantius, used Euhemerus’s belief that the ancient gods were originally human to confirm their inferiority regarding the Christian god.”(DBpedia)

    Blogger’s Note

    This eponymous theory, whether accurate or not, though it seems inevitable in some cases, less so in others, takes a turn for the ironic when we consider that since none of his writing survived, Euhemer himself may be mythical creation. If so, the creation nonetheless is ascribed “person-hood” status, through the writings of a few other obscure Greek Authors. Incidentally, the “euhemer,” and “ephemer” appear to translate similarly in the Greek. This could lead an inquiring mind to wonder if, as it very much seems the case, the entire affair isn’t tightly bound up with highly suspect term “euphemism.”

    Posted in euhemerism, One Word Each Day | Tagged , | 4 Comments

    #35. Au courant

    #35. au courant

    (9 letters | 3 syllables)

    adj| being up to particular standard or level especially in being up to date in knowledge.

    First known use 1762 (Georgian Era)
    (Wolfram Alpha)

    Simple Definition of au courant
    knowing about the newest information, trends, etc.
    stylish or current

    Full Definition of au courant
    1 : fully informed : up-to-date

    b : fashionable, stylish
    fully familiar

    Origin and Etymology of au courant:
    French, literally, in the current

    First Known Use: 1762

    (Merriam Webster)
    Definition of au courant in English

    1. Aware of what is going on; well informed:

    “they were au courant with the literary scene”

    1.1 Fashionable:
    “frocks with au courant details like ruching and asymmetrical hemlines”

    Mid 18th century: from French, literally ‘in the (regular) course’.

    au courant (adj.)
    “aware of current events,” 1762, French, literally “with the current” (see current (n.).

    “newspaper” (now only in names of newspapers), from French courant, literally “running,” present participle of courir “to run” (see current (adj.)

    au cou•rant
    /ˌoʊ kʊˈrã/ adj.
    [be + ~]Those fashions are au courant.
    fully aware or familiar
    [be + ~ + with]is au courant with the latest trends.

    au cou•rant
    (ō′ kŏŏ rän′; Fr. ō ko̅o̅ rän′),
    fully aware or familiar;

    : French: literally, in the current

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    au courant french: /o kurɑ̃/
    up-to-date, esp in knowledge of current affairs
    Etymology: literally: in the current

    E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.

    Au Courant (French),

    “acquainted with” (lit.=in the current [of events]). To keep one au courant of everything that passes, is to keep one familiar with, or informed of, passing events

    Phrase: au courant
    Meaning: up to date

    Language of Origin: French

    Additional Information: Has connotations of “in the know” or “with it”.

    Example: “She’s quite au courant compared her sister.”



    common, current, routine, stream.

    (Cambridge Dictionary)

    Posted in au courant, One Word Each Day | Tagged , | 1 Comment

    #34. Theodicy


    (8 letters | 4 syllables)
    (scrabble score – 17)
    noun | the branch of theology that defends God’s goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil

    Wolfram Alpha)

    : defense of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil.

    originally from the modification of French théodicée, from théo– the- (from Latin theo-) + Greek dikē judgment, right.
    (Merriam Webster)

    (plural theodicies)
    The vindication of divine goodness and providence in view of the existence.

    Late 18th century: from French Théodicée, the title of a work by Leibniz, from Greek theos ‘god’ + dikē ‘justice
    (Oxford Dictionaries)

    Theodicy (n.)
    “vindication of divine justice,” 1771, from French théodicée, title of a 1710 work by Leibniz to prove the justice of God in a world with much moral and physical evil, from Greek theos “god” (see theo-) + dike “custom, usage; justice, right; court case,” from PIE *dika-, from root *deik- (see diction). Related: Theodicean.

    ■■ Free Copy of Liebniz famous work, Theodicy,  the The Gutenberg Project.

    ■■ Or you might want an this abridged version offer by St Anselm College

    ■■ For an interesting treatment on Liebniz including his differences with Newton and Separate development of Calculus  see Marc Bobro’s article in The New Atlantis


    For a much deeper search into the subject of theodicy and what it meant to the 17th century natural philosphers engaged in we include a portion of Mark Larrimore’s work contextualizing the term below:


    “Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s (1646–1716) neologism théodicée (from Greek theos, God dike, justice) means divine justice, but the term has long been conflated with John Milton’s (1608–1674) promise to “justify the ways of God to men.” In 1791 Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) defined theodicy as “the defense of the highest wisdom of the creator against the charge which reason brings against it for whatever is counterpurposive in the world” (p. 24).

    Many intellectual historians see theodicy as a specifically modern, perhaps even a more specifically eighteenth-century phenomenon, but the term has come to have broader meanings. Auguste Comte (1798–1857) described all natural and philosophical theology as theodicy. Scholars of religion call all efforts to answer a problem of evil thought to be universal theodicies. The Book of Job, the Indian doctrine of karma, and even capitalist faith in the market have all been seen as theodicies.

    There is good reason to restrict the meaning of the term, however, if not to post-Leibnizian thought then at least to philosophical discussions of a certain sort.”

    …..Continue reading at …..


    Larrimore, Mark. “Theodicy.” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2016 .

    Frightening tree of Theodicy

    No one thing, without its opposite.

    Posted in One Word Each Day, Theodicy | Tagged , , ,

    #33. Onanism

    (3 syllables | 7 letters)
    (scrabble score – 9)
    First known use 1727
    1. | noun | manual stimulation of the genital organs (of yourself or another) for sexual pleasure.

    2 | noun | a method of birth control in which coitus is initiated but the penis is deliberately withdrawn before ejaculation.
    (Wolfram Alpha)

    Derivative: Onanist, onanistic.

    1. masturbation
    2. coitus interruptus
    Early 18th century: from French onanisme or modern Latin onanismus, from the biblical story of Onan (Gen. 38:8)
    (Oxford Dictionaries)

    1. masturbation
    2. coitus interruptus
    3. self-gratification
    Origin and Etymology of onanism:
    probably from New Latin onanismus, from Onan, son of Judah (Genesis 38:9)

    First Known Use: circa 1741.

    Onan as Biblical character. In the Book of Genesis Onan was commanded by his father to impregnate the widow of his slain brother and to raise the offspring of the union. In order to avoid raising descendants for his late brother, however, Onan engaged in coitus interruptus.

    onanism (n.)
    “masturbation,” also “coitus interruptus,” 1727, from Onan, son of Judah (Gen. xxxviii:9), who spilled his seed on the ground rather than impregnate his dead brother’s wife: “And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.” The moral of this verse was redirected by those who sought to suppress masturbation.






    Posted in onanism, One Word Each Day | Tagged , , , ,