The newspaper columnist's acute insights and mordant wit made her columns a must-read for many subscribers.
"These letters show the tender, funny, love-hungry side of [Philip] Larkin that, in the poems proper, are always in tension with the mordant stuff." -- From a blog post by Adam Gopnik at The New Yorker (online), December 27, 2011
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The etymology of "mordant" certainly has some bite to it. That word, which came to modern English through Middle French, ultimately derives from the Latin verb "mordēre," which means "to bite." In modern parlance, "mordant" usually suggests a wit used with deadly effectiveness. "Mordēre" puts the bite into other English terms, too. For instance, that root gave us the tasty "morsel" ("a tiny bite"). But nibble too many of those and youll likely be hit by another "mordēre" derivative: "remorse" ("guilt for past wrongs"), which comes from Latin "remordēre," meaning "to bite again."
Test Your Memory: What recent Word of the Day means "sweet to the taste" or "pleasing to the ear"? The answer is ...
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