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Jan 4, 2012
This week's theme
"New" words

This week's words
numinous
noosphere
nutate
newspeak
pneumatic

nutation
Rotation (green), precession (blue), and nutation (red)
Illustrator: Herbye, Source: Wikipedia

Also see this nutation video

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

nutate

PRONUNCIATION:
(NOO-tayt, NYOO-)

MEANING:
verb intr.:
1. To nod the head.
2. To oscillate while rotating (as an astronomical body).
3. To move in a curving or circular fashion (as a plant stem, leaf, etc.).

ETYMOLOGY:
Back-formation from nutation, from Latin nutare (to nod repeatedly), frequentative of -nuere (to nod), from numen (nod of the head, command, divine will). Earliest documented use: 1880.

USAGE:
"Down she slides not wanting to lose consciousness, chin nutating into bosom, yet straining in her mind to stay present."
Forrest Gander; As A Friend; New Directions; 2008.

"In pubs across the land, the customers speak of little else but lunar nutation, especially since the moon is nutating at this very moment."
Tom Shields; Fur Coats and No Moral Fibre?; The Sunday Herald (Glasgow, Scotland); Oct 1, 2006.

"Tendrils of pea plants nutate in the air and when come in contact of any support, they coil around it."
Competition Science Vision; Apr 1999.

See more usage examples of nutate in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
To be capable of embarrassment is the beginning of moral consciousness. Honor grows from qualms. -John Leonard, critic (1939-2008)

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