Word of the Day: ukase
Ukase (noun) yoo-KAYSS
1 : a proclamation by a Russian emperor or government having the force of law
2 a : a proclamation having the force of law
“On December 31, 1810, the Emperor issued a ukase lifting all restrictions on exports from Russia and on imports coming by sea, while at the same time imposing a heavy tariff on goods arriving overland, most of which came from France.” — James Traub, John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit, 2016
“The Department of Education has issued a ukase … on the use of exclamation marks by seven-year-olds.… Education ministers have concluded that seven-year-olds are … unhealthily addicted to exclamation points …, and have decreed that in this summer’s grammar tests for primary school pupils, sentences concluding with an exclamation point may be marked correct only if they begin with How or What.” — Jane Shilling, The Daily Telegraph (London), 7 Mar. 2016
Did You Know?
English speakers adopted ukase more or less simultaneously from French (ukase) and Russian (ukaz) in the early 18th century. The word can be traced further back to the Russian verb ukazat’, meaning “to show” or “to order,” and its ultimate source is an ancient root that led to similar words in Latin, Sanskrit, and Old Church Slavic. A Russian ukase was a command from the highest levels of government that could not be disobeyed. But by the early 19th century, English speakers were also using ukase generally for any command that seemed to come from a higher authority, particularly one that was final or arbitrary.
I can honestly say, that I doubt that I will ever use today’s word. Historians and similar professions might, but I can’t see me using it. According to my research, it’s most commonly used in connection with Russia. Not so much today’s version of the country but pre-twentieth century Russia.
Alternate uses include having the force of law, order or a command. Now, I’m not a lawyer, a member of law enforcement or government so I’m unlikely to use it in that context. About the only possible context might be in my household, but that will never be the case. My relationship with my girlfriend is built not on dominion over one another but mutual respect and consideration.
I did find a number of foreign products based upon the word. Though I don’t normally promote products, if the product is a creative work of art, I will.
If someone out there has a favorite day use for the word, please let me know.
If you share this post by clicking one of the twitter buttons, I will treat you with a sexier image related to the word. My gift to you.