Word of the Day Archive
Thursday September 4, 2008
immolate \IM-uh-layt\ , transitive verb:
1. To sacrifice; to offer in sacrifice; to kill as a sacrificial victim.
2. To kill or destroy, often by fire.
What have I gained, that I no longer immolate a bull to Jove, or to Neptune, or a mouse to Hecate . . . if I quake at opinion, the public opinion, as we call it; or at the threat of assault, or contumely, or bad neighbors, or poverty, or mutilation, or at the rumor of revolution, or of murder?
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays and English traits
In the city of Bhopal, police used water canon to thwart a group of Congress workers who were on the point of immolating themselves.
-- Peter Popham, "Gandhi critics are expelled by party", Independent, May 21, 1999
Bowls of honey at the room's center drew random insects to immolate themselves against a nearby bug zapper.
-- Carol Kino, "Damien Hirst at Gagosian", Art in America, May 2001
Immolate comes from the past participle of Latin immolare, "to sacrifice; originally, to sprinkle a victim with sacrificial meal," from in- + mola, "grits or grains of spelt coarsely ground and mixed with salt."