Word of the Day : May 31, 2016

tousle

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verb TOW-zul

Definition

: to make untidy : dishevel, rumple

Did You Know?

Tousle is a word that has been through what linguists call a "functional shift." That's a fancy way of saying it was originally one part of speech, then gradually came to have an additional function. Tousle started out as a verb back in the 15th century. By the late 19th century, it was also being used as a noun meaning "a tangled mass (as of hair)." Etymologists connect the word to an Old High German word meaning "to pull to pieces."


Examples

The cats got into a loud scuffle, tousling the clean sheets that Hugh had just put on the bed.

"In person, removed from the dank interiors he typically haunts on 'Game of Thrones,' Mr. Rheon's face is more cherubic than demonic, with a rakish scruff and artfully tousled hair that gets more so as he runs his hands through it in conversation." — Jeremy Egner, The New York Times, 20 Apr. 2016



Test Your Vocabulary

What word refers primarily to a green-leaved vegetable but can also refer to something unwanted or to an untidy overgrowth?

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