Word of the Day : October 20, 2010

farraginous

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adjective fuh-RAJ-uh-nus

Definition

: consisting of a confused mixture : formed of various materials in no fixed order or arrangement

Did You Know?

"Farraginous" is the adjective connected with "farrago," a word we featured in September. In Latin, the stem "farragin-" and the noun "farrago" both mean "mixture" or (specifically) "a mixture of grains for cattle feed." They derive from "far," the Latin name for spelt, a type of grain. In the 1600s, English speakers began using "farrago" as a noun meaning "hodgepodge" and "farraginous" as an adjective meaning "consisting of a mixture." The creation of the adjective was simply a matter of adding the adjectival suffix "-ous" to "farragin-" (although at least one writer had previously experimented with "farraginary," employing a different adjectival suffix).

Quick Quiz: What 6-letter word can mean "a mixture of different people or things" and also has a musical mixture sense? The answer is ...


Examples

The large box at the hotel’s lost and found desk contained a farraginous assortment of hats, umbrellas, cell phones, and other personal items.

"Like the Habsburg empire, the kingdom of Sweden encompassed a farraginous set of languages, including Swedish, Finnish, Latvian, Estonian, and German, the language of administration." -- From the book A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present (Third Edition), by John Merriman, 2009




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