Daily Content Archive

(as of Saturday, August 1, 2015)
Word of the Day

excursus

Definition:(noun) A message that departs from the main subject.
Synonyms:digression, divagation, parenthesis, aside
Usage: After yet another long excursus on the subject of housecats, the absent-minded professor finally returned to his main point.
Daily Grammar Lesson

Non-Restrictive Appositives

Appositives that are not essential to the meaning of the sentence are known as "non-restrictive appositives." How do we set non-restrictive appositives apart from the rest of the sentence? More...
Article of the Day

Ethel Merman

Merman was a Tony Award winning star of film and stage. Her precise enunciation, wide vocal range, and accurate pitch garnered her much acclaim. She began singing while working as a secretary and eventually became a full time vaudeville performer. Her powerful alto voice afforded her great advantages at a time when stage singers performed without microphones. She made her theater debut in Girl Crazy (1930). According to Broadway lore, what did George Gershwin advise her never to do? More...
This Day in History

University of Texas Massacre (1966)

On August 1, 1966, University of Texas student and former Marine Charles Whitman stabbed his mother and wife to death. He then took an array of firearms to his university's 307-foot (94-m) clock tower. There, he shot and killed more than a dozen people and wounded at least 30 others before police killed him. In his writings, Whitman expressed regret and confusion over his actions and asked that an autopsy be performed to determine what had caused his behavior. What did the autopsy find? More...
Today's Birthday

Maria Mitchell (1818)

The daughter of an amateur astronomer, Mitchell spent her formative years learning to observe the heavens. When she was 29, she discovered a comet. For her achievement, she was awarded a gold medal by the king of Denmark. Her reputation as an astronomer thus secured, she soon became the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and, thereafter, to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. To which of America's Founding Fathers was Mitchell distantly related? More...
Quotation of the Day
Democracy is the healthful lifeblood which circulates through the veins and arteries, which supports the system, but which ought never to appear externally, and as the mere blood itself.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

Idiom of the Day

one after another

Consecutively and in quick succession, with one person or thing rapidly following another in order (and usually indicating a large amount altogether). (Often formulated as "one (noun) after another.") More...
Today's Holiday

Lammas (2018)

Possibly one of the four great pagan festivals of Britain, Lammas was known as the Gule of August in the Middle Ages. In medieval England, loaves made from the first ripe grain were blessed in the church on this day—the word lammas being a short form of "loaf mass." Lammas Day is similar in original intent to the Jewish Feast of Weeks, also called Shavuot or Pentecost, which came at the end of the Passover grain harvest. A 15th-century suggestion was that the name derived from "lamb" and "mass," and was the time when a feudal tribute of lambs was paid. More...
Word Trivia

Today's topic: sleeping

cubicle - Originally a small room for sleeping—from Latin cumb, "lie down"—that was separated from a larger room. More...

breakfast - Literally means "breaking the fast"—of the night, as it is the first meal after sleeping. More...

dormition - A peaceful and painless death, as well as the act of sleeping or falling asleep. More...

incubate, incubation - Latin incubare, the source of incubate, literally meant "lie down on"; incubation once had the sense of sleeping in a sacred place or temple for oracular purposes. More...

In the News

Scientists Call for Ban on Live Salamander Imports to Stop Skin-Eating Disease

A skin-eating fungus that infiltrated Europe through the global wildlife trade is threatening to inflict massive losses on the continent's native salamanders, including extinction of whole species, and could do the same in North America, scientists say. They ... More...
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