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Today's Word:Anfractuous 2006-04-26 08:34:48

分类: 数据库开发技术

Definition 1: Tortuous, full of twists and turns and hence (unnecessarily) complicated.

Usage 1: The difference between "anfractuous" and "torturous" is that the former, but not the latter, implies that the twists and turns are superfluous. An anfractuous road is excessively torturous and an anfractuous argument is superfluously complicated. The adverb is "anfractuously" and the noun form may be either "anfractuousness" or "anfractuosity."

Suggested usage: This is a word that can be used to describe anything from avenues to arguments. "An anfractuous dirt road that leads to a mountain cabin," describes a road full of torturous bends and twists while "an anfractuous explanation" is one that is difficult to follow because it is unduly complicated. Minds can be anfractuous, too. yourDictionary's Word of the Day series is designed to help us all with our thinking and speaking precise, so that we avoid communicating in anfractuosities.

Etymology: Latin anfractus "coil, bend", the past participle (-t-us) from frang-ere "to break", itself from am(bi)- "around" + -fractus "broken", from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) stem *bhreg. PIE *bh became "f" in initial position of Latin words, hence "fract-" (with a suffix -t). In Germanic languages like English it became b everywhere, while "g" became "k", following a law discovered by Jakob Grimm, the great German linguist who collected fairy tales in his spare time. So the same root as we find in Latin words with frag- and frang- (nasalized), turns up in Modern English as "break" and (nasalized) "brink." (For a larger slice of PIE, read "How is a Hippo like a Feather?" in our library).

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