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1

 

Word of the day for December 1
tip of the iceberg n
  1. (idiomatic) A small indication of a larger possibility; a problem that is much bigger than it seems.

  On this day 60 years ago in 1959, the Antarctic Treaty was signed. The day was declared by Our Spaces as Antarctica Day to build awareness about Antarctica and to emphasize the importance of nations co-operating peacefully through science to make decisions about places beyond the boundaries of sovereign states.

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2

 

Word of the day for December 2
PEBCAK n
  1. (computing, humorous, also attributively) Chiefly used by technical support helpdesk staff: a problem experienced with a user's computer that is due to user error.

  Today is World Computer Literacy Day, which was launched by Indian company NIIT to encourage the development of computing skills, especially among women and children in India.

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3

4

5

 

Word of the day for December 5
agribusiness n
  1. (countable) A business or group of businesses engaged in agriculture, particularly if using modern farming techniques in the process.
  2. (uncountable) Business (especially big business) connected to agriculture, either owning or operating large-scale farms, or catering to those who do.

  Today is declared by the United Nations to be World Soil Day to recognize the importance of soil as a vital part of nature and a contributor to human well-being.

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6

 

Word of the day for December 6
picaresque adj
  1. Of or pertaining to adventurers or rogues.
  2. (literature) Characteristic of a genre of Spanish satiric novel dealing with the adventures of a roguish hero.

  Today is Día de la Constitución, the Constitution Day of Spain.

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7

 

Word of the day for December 7
Lessepsian adj
  1. (obsolete, rare) Pertaining to the French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps, who designed the Suez Canal.
  2. (marine biology) Of or relating to organisms that migrate from the Red Sea to the eastern Mediterranean Sea by means of the Suez Canal.

  Ferdinand de Lesseps, whose name gave rise to this word, died on this day 125 years ago in 1894.

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8

 

Word of the day for December 8
Mariolatry n
  1. (Protestantism, derogatory) Adoration or veneration of the Virgin Mary to an extent regarded as inappropriate or even idolatrous.

  Mary, Queen of Scots, regarded by many English Roman Catholics of her time as the legitimate sovereign of England, was born on this day in 1542.

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9

10

 

Word of the day for December 10
gylany n
  1. (sociology) A social system based on equality of women and men.

  Today is Human Rights Day, which is recognized by the United Nations to emphasize the importance of human rights and to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first global enunciation of such rights, on this day in 1948.

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11

12

 

Word of the day for December 12
oximeter n
  1. (chemistry) A device that measures the quantity of oxygen in something.
  2. (medicine, specifically) A device that measures the oxygen saturation of arterial blood.

  Today is International Universal Health Coverage Day, which is recognized by the United Nations to emphasize that everybody should have access to good quality, affordable health care.

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13

 

Word of the day for December 13
bastard strangles n
  1. (veterinary medicine) A form of strangles, a bacterial upper respiratory tract infection of horses potentially causing airway obstruction, that has spread to other parts of the body and caused abscesses.

  Today is celebrated by some people in the United States as National Day of the Horse, which recognizes the contribution of horses to the economy, history, and character of the country.

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14

 

Word of the day for December 14
by virtue of prep
  1. (idiomatic) (originally) by the authority or power of; (now) because of; on the grounds of; by reason of.
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15

 

Word of the day for December 15
Groom of the Stool proper n
  1. (Britain, monarchy, historical) Originally an official responsible for helping the English monarch use the toilet; later a senior official who was allowed access to the monarch's privy chamber and served as a personal secretary.
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16

 

Word of the day for December 16
prototype n
  1. An original form or object which is a basis for other forms or objects (particularly manufactured items), or for its generalizations and models.
  2. An early sample or model built to test a concept or process.
  3. (computing) A declaration of a function that specifies the name, return type, and parameters, but none of the body or actual code.
  4. (semantics) An instance of a category or a concept that combines its most representative attributes.
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17

18

 

Word of the day for December 18
primum mobile n
  1. (astronomy, historical) The outermost celestial sphere of the heavens in Ptolemaic astronomy, which was believed to cause all the inner spheres to rotate.
  2. (chiefly philosophy, theology) The prime mover or first cause (an initial cause from which all other causes and effects follow).
  3. (by extension) The person or thing that is the main impetus for some action; a driving force.

  Today is UN Arabic Language Day, one of six such days established by UNESCO to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity and to promote the equal use of its working languages. The term primum mobile is a calque of Arabic مُحَرِّك أَوَّل(muḥarrik ʾawwal, literally first mover).

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19

 

Word of the day for December 19
scut n
  1. (obsolete) A hare; (hunting, also figuratively) a hare as the game in a hunt.
  2. A short, erect tail, as of a hare, rabbit, or deer.
  3. (by extension) The buttocks or rump; also, the female pudenda, the vulva. […]
  4. (chiefly Ireland, colloquial) A contemptible person. […]
  5. (also attributively) Distasteful work; drudgery; specifically (medicine, slang) some menial procedure left for a doctor or medical student to complete, sometimes for training purposes.
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20

 

Word of the day for December 20
bewilder v
  1. (transitive) To confuse, disorientate, or puzzle someone, especially with many different choices.
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21

 

Word of the day for December 21
Sherman necktie n
  1. (US, rail transport, historical, chiefly plural) A segment of rail that has been heated and twisted into a loop, as a means of destroying a railway.

  Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s campaign during the American Civil War known as Sherman’s March to the Sea ended with the capture of the port of Savannah, Georgia, on this day 155 years ago in 1864.

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22

 

Word of the day for December 22
lotologist n
  1. A person who collects lottery tickets.

  The Spanish Christmas Lottery, often called “El Gordo” (the Big One) is usually drawn on this day each year.

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23

 

Word of the day for December 23
run someone ragged v
  1. (originally US, idiomatic) To exhaust; to demand excessive effort or work from somebody.
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24

 

Word of the day for December 24
mistletoe n
  1. (countable, uncountable) Any of several hemiparasitic evergreen plants of the order Santalales with white berries that grow in the crowns of apple trees, oaks, and other trees, such as the European mistletoe (Viscum album) and American mistletoe or eastern mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum).
  2. (uncountable) A sprig of one such plant used as a Christmas decoration, associated with the custom that a man may kiss any woman standing beneath it.

  Have yourself a merry little Christmas Eve!

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25

 

Word of the day for December 25
Kris Kringle proper n (chiefly US)
  1. Synonym of Christkind (a personification of the baby Jesus who, in German-speaking parts of Europe, takes the place of Santa Claus in bringing gifts to people at Christmastime)
  2. Synonym of Santa Claus

Kris Kringle n

  1. Synonym of secret Santa (a Christmas tradition where a group of people give anonymous gifts to each other, with each person randomly selected to give a gift to one other person; a person who anonymously gives a present to another in such a gift exchange)
  2. A gift given in a Kris Kringle or secret Santa gift exchange.

  Merry Christmas from all of us at the English Wiktionary!

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26

 

Word of the day for December 26
box v
  1. (transitive) To place inside a box; to pack in one or more boxes.
  2. (transitive) Usually followed by in: to surround and enclose in a way that restricts movement; to corner, to hem in.
  3. (transitive) To mix two containers of paint of similar colour to ensure that the color is identical.
  4. (transitive, agriculture) To make an incision or hole in (a tree) for the purpose of procuring the sap.
  5. (transitive, architecture) To enclose with boarding, lathing, etc., so as to conceal (for example, pipes) or to bring to a required form.
  6. (transitive, engineering) To furnish (for example, the axle of a wheel) with a box.
  7. (transitive, graphic design, printing) To enclose (images, text, etc.) in a box.
  8. (transitive, object-oriented programming) To place a value of a primitive type into a corresponding object.

  Today is celebrated as Boxing Day in many countries.

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27

 

Word of the day for December 27
golden touch n
  1. (idiomatic) Synonym of Midas touch (the ability to achieve financial reward (or, more generally, success) easily and consistently)
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28

 

Word of the day for December 28
count coup v
  1. (intransitive, US, historical) To win prestige in battle by performing an act of bravery in the face of the enemy (such as touching him and escaping unharmed), a ritual of the Plains Indians of North America.
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29

 

Word of the day for December 29
dashcam n
  1. (automotive) A digital video recorder mounted on the dashboard of a vehicle or elsewhere inside the vehicle to record occurrences in the vicinity, such as traffic accidents that the vehicle has been involved in, to provide evidence for criminal prosecutions, insurance claims, etc.
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30

 

Word of the day for December 30
hyperthymesia n
  1. (neuroscience) A rare condition in which an individual possesses a superior autobiographical memory and is able to recall the vast majority of personal events and experiences in life.

  Jill Price, the first person to be diagnosed with the condition, was born on this day in 1965.

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31

 

Word of the day for December 31
auld lang syne n
  1. (idiomatic) Days gone by; former times.

  Happy New Year’s Eve from all of us at Wiktionary!

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