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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Word of the Day irreparable

Word of the Day | irreparable

irreparable •\i-ˈre-p(ə-)rə-bəl, ˌi(r)\• adjective

: impossible to fix, rectify, or amend
The word irreparable has appeared in 54 New York Times articles in the past year, including on Oct. 10 in “Reincarnation of Treasured Instrument” by James R. Oestreich:

This was a sound no musician should have to suffer: the destruction of her longtime instrument. In Wu Man’s case, in June, it was a loud crack, heard from her seat as a flight attendant, trying to stow her pipa in a coat closet up front, dropped it, breaking its neck.
The pipa is a Chinese lute of ancient origin, with four plucked strings and a pear-shaped body, played upright in the lap. Its back consists of a single heavy piece of wood, exquisitely curved from a rounded bottom to a tapering neck.
With that neck broken clean off the body, Ms. Wu’s instrument of 17 years, valued at some $50,000 and uninsured, was deemed irreparable. But thanks to US Airways, whose employee inflicted the damage, Ms. Wu has a new pipa, made in Beijing by the same master who had made her old one.

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December 29, 2013

Word of the Day

  • imbricate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \IM-brih-kut\

: lying lapped over each other in regular order

During the tour of the mansion, Glenda noted the pattern of imbricate slate tiles on the roofs of the gables, a feature common to houses of the period.

"Recent geological studies and limited geophysical measurements in this region have been cited to argue that uplift is due to internal imbricate 'stacking' of Asian crust…." —Professor James Ni as quoted by Donyelle Kesler in Las Cruces Sun-News (New Mexico), July 22, 2011

The ancient Romans knew how to keep the interior of their villas dry when it rained. They covered their roofs with overlapping curved tiles so the "imber" (Latin for "pelting rain" or "rain shower") couldn't seep in. The tiles were, in effect, "rain tiles," so the Romans called them "imbrices" (singular "imbrex"). The verb for installing the tiles was "imbricare," and English speakers used its past participle—"imbricatus"—to create "imbricate," which was first used as an adjective meaning "overlapping (like roof tiles)" and later became a verb meaning "to overlap." These days, the adjective is usually encountered in scientific contexts.

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "inveigh," our Word of the Day from December 2? The answer is …



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