Word of the Day : July 6, 2011

hard-boiled

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adjective HAHRD-BOYLD

Definition

1 a : devoid of sentimentality : tough

b : of, relating to, or being a detective story featuring a tough unsentimental protagonist and a matter-of-fact attitude towards violence

2 : hardheaded, practical

Did You Know?

As a writer of local color, Mark Twain often used colloquialisms and regionalisms that were unfamiliar to many of his readers. When some of these expressions eventually caught on in the language at large, they were traced back to Twain. For example, he is credited with the first printed use of "blow up" ("to lose self-control") in 1871, of "slop" ("effusive sentimentality") in 1866, and of the phrase "sweat out" ("to endure or wait through the course of") in 1876. "Hard-boiled" is documented as being first used by Twain in 1886 as an adjective meaning "hardened." Apparently, Twain and others saw the boiling of an egg to harden the white and yolk as a metaphor for other kinds of hardening.


Examples

The young tycoon proved that to be successful in the cutthroat world of business you need to occasionally put aside hard-boiled business practices and go with your gut instincts.

"At the beginning of his career, in his classic spaghetti westerns, he combined two classic American types -- the hard-boiled agent from the crime fiction of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler and the lonesome cowboy from the long-established western -- and created characters who dominated through their utter self-possession." -- From an article by Stephen Marche in Esquire, November 1, 2010



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What word completes this sentence from a recent Word of the Day piece: "I hope city council members will take swift action at today’s meeting, but I’m worried that they are more likely to __________"? The answer is ...


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