Today’s word of the day is seidel, a mug or glass for beer. It comes to English from German, in which language it means stein.
The exact size of a seidel depends upon the place and time. The November 1890 issue of the St. Louis Medical and Surgical Journal says it equals a quart. This 1878 table of equivalencies more precisely says that in Austria a seidel was about 0.6229 of a pint, which is about 295 milliliters. Other measures have it from somewhat less than to much more than a quart.
H.L Mencken knew what a seidel was, as well as the full measure of his fellow men: “The average man, at least in England and America, has such rudimentary tastes in victualry that he doesn’t know good food from bad. He will eat anything set before him by a cook that he likes. The true way to fetch him is with drinks. A single bottle of drinkable wine will fill more men with the passion of love than ten sides of beef or a ton of potatoes. Even a Seidel of beer, deftly applied, is enough to mellow the hardest bachelor. If women really knew their business, they would have abandoned cooking centuries ago, and devoted themselves to brewing, distilling, and bartending.” (From Prejucides: Second Series, 1920, New York: Knopf.)
Today’s word of the day is jug-handled, meaning “one-sided,” as in, “I think that courtesy, like reciprocity, should not be jug-handled.”
Today’s word of the day is pluck. Naturally, if we’re going to choose a word that seems so ordinary, we’re going to tell you about a meaning that isn’t. This pluck is the heart, liver, windpipe, and lungs of a sheep, ox, or other animal used as butchers’ meat. It’s also used figuratively or humorously for similar parts of a human being, especially when talking about “having the pluck” or “being plucky,” meaning, “showing courage and spirit in trying circumstances” or “being bold or brave.” In other words, “having the guts or the stomach to do something” or “showing intestinal fortitude.”
Why doesn’t anyone ever say, “He has the belly button to do what’s right?”
Today’s word of the day is cashew, the kidney-shaped seed of a tropical American evergreen tree, Anacardium occidentale.
This is the fruit that contains the nut. Photo by Joao Vicente, used under a Creative Commons license.
Today’s word of the day is mell, meaning “to mix or to meddle,” of which it is a contracted form, and through which it is historically related to French, Spanish, and Italian words for “mix.” It is, of course, related to pell-mell.
Today’s word of the day is preterist, a person who is largely interested only in the past. The root preter- is from the Latin praeter meaning “past” or “beyond.” Anyone who has studied grammar will recognize it in preterite, but it’s also found in preternatural ‘beyond what is normal or natural’ and preterhuman ‘beyond what is human.’
Today’s word of the day is spirituel, “having or evidencing a refined mind and wit.” The feminine form of the word—spirituelle—is defined even more fully: “characterized by or exhibiting a refined intellectuality, grace, or delicacy.” Both are French cognates of the English spiritual, which concerns the intangible nature and characteristics of humans.