Word of the Day: reproof

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Word of the Day: reproof

The word reproof has appeared in five articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Sept. 23 in the Opinion essay “What Thoreau Heard in the Song of the Crickets” by Lewis Hyde:

In the last few years I’ve been working on a book about hunting for butterflies and, for companionship, I’ve been reading the classic nature writers, especially the 19th-century philosopher Henry David Thoreau. The author of “Walden,” it turns out, has little to say about butterflies but, to my surprise, lots to say about crickets and their song, so much so that when I gathered his journal’s many scattered remarks about them what emerged was a sort of modern, American fable.

… It all seems quite hurried, the way each season must fall forward into the next until the final freeze. In May 1854, when Thoreau hears the year’s first cricket, it makes him think not of new birth but of “lateness.” That entry in his journal comes a few months before “Walden” was to be published and Thoreau was a man trying to finish a job. “What have we done with our talent?” reads an entry from the previous August. “The sound of the crickets, even in the spring, makes our hearts beat with its awful reproof … The year is full of warnings of its shortness, as is life.”

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If you want a better idea of how reproof can be used in a sentence, read these usage examples on Vocabulary.com.


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