vers-, vert-, -verse, -version, -version, -versation, -versal, -versary, -vert, vort-, vors-

(Latin: bend, turn)

oral conversation
A pleonasm or a redundant phrase.
perverse (adjective), more perverse, most perverse
Characteristic of being wrong or different in a way which others feel is offensive, weird, or strange: Jim's aunt has a perverse fascination with going for walks even in the worst kind of weather.
Against doing what is right, willfully doing the wrong thing.
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perversely
perverseness
perversion
perversity
perversive
pervert
pervertible
photoconversion
The conversion of a substance from one form to another by using the energy supplied by light.
photosynthetic efficiency, photovoltaic conversion efficiency
The percentage of the total available light captured by plants that is subsequently converted into chemical energy.
pollice verso (s) (noun), pollice versos (pl)
With thumb turned.

Currently "thumbs down" is believed to be the signal by which Roman spectators condemned a vanquished gladiator to death.

The Roman custom of spectators' voting on the fate of wounded gladiators with their "thumbs up" did not mean that the downed gladiator was to be spared. In fact, it meant that the gladiator was to be killed.

Thumbs down signified "swords down" and meant that the loser was worth more to them alive than dead, and he was spared to make up for his disgrace in the next contest.

Whenever a combatant was seriously wounded, the presiding judge, or "referee", was called upon to determine whether the man should live or die, depending on how well he fought.

The judge usually went along with the mood or desire of the spectators. If they cheered, applauded, and gave the "thumbs-down" and indicated that they liked the man, he was carted off to fight another time.

If they gave him the silent "thumbs-up" treatment, his opponent was given the signal to finish him off. The corpse was then dragged off with a hook.

The misconception of "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" is probably the result of a painting.

Our misinterpretation of the thumbs-up and thumbs-down apparently came about because a French artist Léon Gérôme understood the Latin verso (turned) to mean "turned down" and so in his painting Pollice Verso (1873), he showed the death sentence with the "thumbs-down" gesture.

Apparently the painting was so popular that Gérôme's mistake became the universally accepted interpretation as we know it today.

—Compiled from statements made in It's Greek to Me!
by Michael Macrone; published by Cader Books and Harper Collins Publishers;
1991; pages 160-161.
prosaic (adjective), more prosaic, most prosaic
1. Referring to writing or speaking that is matter-of-fact and commonplace: Jim was looking for another job because he thought the people at work were too preoccupied with prosaic concerns of day-to-day routines.
2. Lacking in imagination and spirit; dull; ordinary: The guests exchanged prosaic remarks and kept looking at their watches because of the humdrum conversation that was going on.
3. Etymology: from Middle Latin prosaicus; from Latin prosa, "straight speech"; past participle of provertere, "to turn forward" from pro-, "before, forward" + vertere, "to turn".
Ordinary and unimaginative.
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Dull and uninteresting.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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prosaically (adverb)
prosaicness (s) (noun), prosaicnesses (pl)
Typically, lacking in imagination and spirit; dull and matter-of-fact.

Inter-related cross references involving word units meaning "bend, curve, turn": diversi-; diverticul-; flect-, flex-; gyro-; meand-; -plex; streph-; stroph-; tors-; tropo-; verg-; volv-.