January 01, 2012
resolution (noun)
\rez-uh-LOO-shun\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : the act or process of resolving2 : the action of solving; also : solution3 : the quality of being resolute : determination4 : a formal statement expressing the opinion, will, or intent of a person or body of persons5 : a measure of the sharpness of an image or of the fineness with which a device can produce or record such an image
How do you use it?
As soon as we woke up this morning, we began making New Years' resolutions.
Are you a word wiz?

What sorts of things do you think were first described as "resolutions"?

Answer A may seem complex, but it's the right answer. When "resolution" first was used in English, it was used to refer to the act of making a complex idea into a simpler one. Shortly after that, "resolution" was used in scientific contexts to describe what happens during a chemical reaction. "Resolution" had a connotation at this point of making something complex simpler, or bringing something (such as the core of an idea) into focus--and this connotation gave rise to the "determination" and "formal statement" senses above. What about the high-tech sense? It's a combination of earlier scientific senses and the "sharper focus" connotation above.
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