Most “liked” words of the day

#1: Gumption
This list features our Word of the Day selections from the past year that have received the most Facebook “Likes.”
Definition:
Common sense, horse sense; enterprise, initiative
Example:
“Plans for the relocation and expansion of Vacaville’s homeless shelter have hit a snag, but it looks like a little gumption and the city’s support could keep the project from derailing.” – Kimberly K. Fu, Contra Costa (California) Times, July 10, 2011
About the Word:
English speakers have had gumption (the word, that is) since the early 1700s. The term’s exact origins aren’t known, but its earliest known uses are found in British and especially Scottish dialects (which also include the forms rumblegumption and rumgumption).
In its earliest uses, gumption referred to intelligence or common sense, especially when those qualities were combined with high levels of energy. By the 1860s, American

English speakers were also using gumption to imply ambition or tenacity, but it wasn’t until the early 1900s that gumption began to appear in English texts as a direct synonym of courage or get-up-and-go.
American showman P. T. Barnum also claimed that gumption named a particular kind of hard cider, but that sense is far from common today.

#2: Flummox
Definition:
To confuse
Example:
“Several traffic signals around the county seem to be less intuitive than others, judging by some of the mail the Doc receives. One that regularly flummoxes drivers is on northbound Seminole Boulevard at the intersection of Ulmerton Road.” – Lorrie Lykins, St. Petersburg Times (Florida), November 14, 2010
About the Word:
No one is completely sure where the word flummox comes from, but we do know that its first known use is found in Charles Dickens’ 1837 novel The Pickwick Papers and that it had become quite common in both British and American English by the end of the 19th century.
One theory expressed by some etymologists is that it was influenced by flummock, a word of English dialectical origin used to refer to a clumsy person. This flummock may also be the source of the word lummox, which also means “a clumsy person.”

#3: Canoodle
Definition:
To engage in amorous embracing, caressing, and kissing
Example:
“The honeymooners are ubiquitous. They cuddle on the beaches, and they maneuver kayaks across the clear, turquoise waterways. They hold hands and canoodle at dinner in dimly lit restaurants.” – Ron Donoho, San Diego Magazine, January 2009
About the Word:
The origins of canoodle are obscure. Our best guess is that it may come from an English dialect noun of the same spelling meaning “donkey, fool, or foolish lover,” which itself may be an alteration of the word noodle, meaning “a foolish person.”
That noodle in turn may come from noddle, a word for the head. The guess seems reasonable given that, since its appearance in the language around the mid-19th century, canoodle has been most often used jocularly for playful public displays of affection by couples who are head over heels in love.

#4: Sagacious
Definition:
Of keen and farsighted penetration and judgment; discerning
Example:
“However, the new learning from Arab and ancient Greek sources recovered in the twelfth century showed that even the most sagacious ancient authors, including the likes of Ptolemy himself, believed in astrology.” – James Hannam, The Genesis of Science, 2011
About the Word:
You might expect the root of sagacious to be sage, which means “wise” or “wise man,” but actually the two words are not all that closely related.



Most “liked” words of the day