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June 23, 2024
Jun 23, 2024
Word
obnubilate
verb
Definition
becloud, obscure
Example
The essays include a significant amount of digression and extra commentary, all of which tends to obnubilate the author's main point.
Origin
The meaning of "obnubilate" becomes clearer when you know that its ancestors are the Latin terms "ob-" (meaning "in the way") and "nubes" ("cloud"). It's a high-flown sounding word, which may be why it often turns up in texts by and about politicians. In fact, when the U.S. Constitution was up for ratification, 18th-century Pennsylvania statesman James Wilson used it to calm fears that the president would have too much power: "Our first executive magistrate is not obnubilated behind the mysterious obscurity of counsellors. . . . He is the dignified, but accountable magistrate of a free and great people."
Webster's Dictionary
Idiom
vicious circle
A series of events in which each problem creates another and worsens the original one. For example, The fatter I get, the unhappier I am, so I eat to cheer myself up, which makes me fatter yet---it's a vicious circle. This expression comes from the French circle vicieux, which in philosophy means "a circular proof"---that is, the proof of one statement depends on a second statement, whose proof in turn depends on the first. One writer suggests that the English meaning of "vicious" helped the expression acquire its more pejorative present sense, used since 1839.
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
Fun facts
  1. A jackrabbit can travel more than 12 feet in one hop.
  2. Tug-of-war was an Olympic sport in the early 1900's.
Snapple's under-the-cap 'Real Facts'
Artist
Johannes Vermeer
October 1632 - December 1675

Johannes Vermeer, in original Dutch Jan Vermeer van Delft, was a Dutch Baroque Period painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle class life. During his lifetime, he was a moderately successful provincial genre painter, recognized in Delft and The Hague. Nonetheless, he produced relatively few paintings and evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death.

Vermeer worked slowly and with great care, and frequently used very expensive pigments. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work.

"Almost all his paintings," Hans Koningsberger wrote, "are apparently set in two smallish rooms in his house in Delft; they show the same furniture and decorations in various arrangements and they often portray the same people, mostly women."

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Wikipedia, Google Arts & Culture
Historical figure
Richard Wettstein
Jun 30, 1863 - Aug 10, 1931

Richard Wettstein was an Austrian botanist. His taxonomic system, the Wettstein system was one of the earliest based on phyletic principles.

Wettstein studied in Vienna, where he was a disciple of Anton Kerner von Marilaun and married his daughter Adele. He was a professor at the University of Prague from 1892, and at the University of Vienna from 1899. He newly laid out the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna.

In 1901 he became president of the Vienna Zoological-Botanical Society, and during the same year took part in a scientific expedition to Brazil. In 1919 he was appointed vice-president of the Vienna Academy of Sciences. During his later years, he traveled with his son, Friedrich, to eastern and southern Africa.

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Wikipedia, Google Arts & Culture
Historic event
Capture of Brielle

The Capture of Brielle by the Watergeuzen, on 1 April 1572 marked a turning point in the uprising of the Low Countries against Spain in the Eighty Years' War. Militarily the success was minor as the port of Brielle was undefended, but it provided the first foothold on land for the rebels at a time when the rebellion was all but crushed, and it offered the sign for a new revolt throughout the Netherlands which led to the formation of the Dutch Republic.

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Wikipedia, Google Arts & Culture