A Word A Day

A.Word.A.Day is a daily email distributed by Anu Garg and the small team of linguistic enthusiasts over at wordsmith.org. Each week they take readers along on an exploration of five words, usually united by a common theme. As a subscriber to their emails, I enjoy their contribution to my inbox immensly, and thought it would be a fun and challenging excercize to illustrate each day's word.

For full definitions, context, usage, and etimologies, subscribe to the A.Word.A.Day email list. And if you'd like to follow along with my daily illustrated definitions, you can do so on Instagram via @an.illustrated.word.a.day.

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(Kon-truh-tan, kawn-truh-TAN)

Meaning (noun)

1. An unforseen and unfortunate occurence.

2. A disagreement or dispute.


Originally contretemps was a fencing term meaning a pass or thrust made at a wrong moment. From French contre- (against) + (time).



Meaning (verb)

1. To speak out freely, especially in an inappropriate moment.


Coined from Greek elements ex- (out) + eleutheros (free) + stoma (mouth).



Meaning (noun)

1. A society in which corporations controll the government.


From corporate, from latin corpus (body) + -cracy (rule). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kwerp- (body, form), which is also the source of corps, corpus, and corpse.



Meaning (noun)

1. Numbness in a limb, usually caused by pressure on a nerve. Also known as falling asleep.


From Latin obdormire (to fall asleep), from dormire (to sleep).



Meaning (adjective)

1. Containing or bearing quartz.


From German Quartz + Latin -ferous (bearing), from ferre (to bear).



Meaning (noun)

1. Excessive concentration of mental energy on something.


From Greek hyper- (over, above) + cathexis, from Greek kathexis (holding), from katekhein (to hold fast).

Thanks for stopping by! You can keep up to date with this ongoing project on Instagram (@an.illustrated.word.a.day), or shoot me an email at hello@dylanthurgood.com for any work inquiries.

Word choice, pronunciations, definitions, and etymologies are from the a.word.a.day email list from wordsmith.org.