Friday, January 31, 2014

Word of the Day aerie

Word of the Day

  • aerie
  • audio pronunciation
  • \AIR-ee\
: the nest of a bird on a cliff or a mountaintop
: an elevated often secluded dwelling, structure, or position
Members of the royal family were seated in an aerie flanking the stage.

"Besides scoring an aerie in the tallest, and most exquisitely renovated, building on the park, Mr. Alexander has nearly 2,000 feet of outdoor space divided among four terraces, one of which is 40 feet wide and provides views of the Chrysler Building." — From an article by Robin Finn in The New York Times, September 15, 2013
English poet John Milton put a variant of "aerie" to good use inParadise Lost (1667), writing, "… there the eagle and the stork / On cliffs and cedar tops their eyries build." But Milton wasn't the first to use the term, which comes to us via Medieval Latin and Old French and probably traces to an earlier Latin word for "nest" or "lair." English speakers had been employing "aerie" as a word for a bird's nest for more than a century when Milton penned those words. Eventually, "aerie" was applied to human dwellings as well as birds' nests. At first, this sense referred to dwellings nestled high up in mountains or hills. These days, you're also likely to hear high-rise city apartments or offices referred to as "aeries."


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