I’m a big fan of daily snippets of wisdom such as Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day and Wikipedia’s Daily Random Article. However the former, today, threw me for a loop. The word, pronunciation, examples and etymology are all correct, but take a look at the definition they included for “sommelier”:
Word of the Day for Tuesday, November 3, 2009
sommelier \suhm-uhl-YEY; Fr. saw-muh-LYEY\, noun:
To involuntarily repeat a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder.
If the wine list is not online, drop by the restaurant in advance, look over the list and talk with the sommelier. It’s a small investment in time that will pay big dividends.
— Ernest Hemmingway, The Sun Also Rises
In the restaurant we ordered hors d’oeuvres and beer. The sommelier brought the beer, tall, beaded on the outside of the steins, and cold. There were a dozen different dishes of hors d’oeuvres.
— Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, “Ordering for a Business Meal”, Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2009
Sommelier derives from French, from Old French, “officer in charge of provisions, pack-animal driver,” alteration of sommerier, from sommier,” beast of burden,” from Vulgar Latin saum?rius.