Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About | Media | Search | Contact  


Home

Today's Word

Subscribe

Archives



Jul 9, 2018
This week’s theme
Words relating to fruit

This week’s words
apple-polish
fig leaf
grapevine
top banana
plummy

apple-polish
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Is tomato a fruit or a vegetable? I don’t know and I don’t care, as long as it’s on my pizza in the form of chunky tomato sauce (and topped with lots of other veggies*). I also don’t care what you call it, tuh-MAY-to or tuh-MAH-to, I love it all the same.

USDA recommends five cups of fruits and veggies a day. We’ll do our part in helping you with your well-being this week and serve you five words that have their origin in fruits (veggies will come in due time).

Now, pardon me, as we need to get busy in the kitchen chopping all those fruits and veggies and discovering their origins. We source our ingredients from around the world. For example, the word tomato comes to us via Spanish from tomatl, a word from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. It’s the same language that gave us chocolate (chocolatl) and avocado (ahuacatl, literally testicle, but you didn’t want to know that).

*We’re doing pizza here, not botany. But if you want to know, tomato is the official fruit of Ohio and Tennessee and official vegetable of the state of New Jersey. Arkansas and Arizona can’t make up their minds and call it both official fruit and vegetable. Finally, the US Supreme Court has decreed that it’s a veggie. Is everything clear now?

apple-polish

PRONUNCIATION:
(AP-uhl pol-ish)

MEANING:
verb tr., intr.: To ingratiate oneself.

ETYMOLOGY:
From the former practice of schoolchildren giving apples to their teachers. Earliest documented use: 1930s.

USAGE:
“He wasn’t trying to apple-polish God; he was merely trying to get the help he needed.”
Troy Theisen; House of Dred; iUniverse; 2013.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We now know that memories are not fixed or frozen, like Proust's jars of preserves in a larder, but are transformed, disassembled, reassembled, and recategorized with every act of recollection. -Oliver Sacks, neurologist and writer (9 Jul 1933-2015)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere

Donate

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2018 Wordsmith