Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Word of the day: hoary

The word of the day is hoary:

  1. gray or white with age
  2. ancient or venerable
  3. tedious from familiarity; stale

O.E. har "gray, venerable, old," the connecting notion being gray hair, from P.Gmc. *khairaz, from PIE *koi- "to shine." German retains the word as a title of respect, in Herr. Of frost, it is recorded in O.E. (hoar-frost is late 13c.), expressing the resemblance of the white feathers of frost to an old man's beard. Used as an attribute of boundary stones in O.E. (probably in ref. to being gray with lichens), hence common in place names.


"Last month, when 'American Sniper' earned ninety million dollars in its first weekend of wide release, it demolished one of Hollywood's hoariest myths—that opening a big movie in January is a recipe for disaster."

 - James Surowiecki, "Rethinking the seasonal strategy", 23 February & 2 March 2015 The New Yorker (

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