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Nov 21, 2022
This week’s theme
Which came first, noun or verb?

This week’s words
truffle
scunner
tomcat
whinge
nitch

truffle
“How am I supposed to relax in a world where truffle can mean either chocolate or fungus?”
Cartoon: Dan Piraro

Previous week’s theme
Words to describe people


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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

If guitar is your thing, you might say: I like playing the guitar. Or you could simply say: I like to guitar.

Purists may object, but the verb guitar has been a part of the English language for some 200 years. Yes, first there was the noun guitar (from 1637) and then the verb form (from 1816) arose over time.

Noun to verb and vice versa, from one part of speech to another, words evolve. Words change. People change. They don’t have to stay however they were labeled at birth. Why not let them all be?

If someone likes to guitar, they don’t stop anyone from playing the guitar. It’s a free world -- do whatever stirs music in your soul.

This week we present five more such words that started out as nouns and turned into a verb as well, and vice versa.

truffle

PRONUNCIATION:
(TRUHF-uhl, TROO-fuhl))

MEANING:
verb intr.:To search, rummage, dig up, etc.
verb tr.:To stuff or to intersperse with something.
noun:1. Any of various edible fungi that grow underground.
 2. A soft, round candy made with chocolate, often coated with cocoa powder.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French truffe, probably from Latin tuber (swelling). The verb intr. sense alludes to the search for underground truffles, traditionally with the help of pigs or dogs. The transitive verb is from the stuffing of truffles in something being cooked. Earliest documented use: noun 1591, verb 1868.

USAGE:
“I figure there’s no need to mention how Michael is truffling around trying to find out what Sarah intended to write about.”
Jane Pek; The Verifiers; Knopf; 2022.

“Bass serves up a rich smorgasbord of a memoir, truffled with pungent anecdotes, sometimes funny, sometimes sorrowful, always savory.”
Liesl Schillinger; Travel; New York Times Book Review; Jun 3, 2018.

See more usage examples of truffle in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise. -Voltaire, philosopher (21 Nov 1694-1778)

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