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Aug 1, 2014
This week's theme
Words that have changed with time

This week's words
harbinger
obsequious
restive
garble
pabulum

pabulum
Stamp: Canada Post

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

pabulum

PRONUNCIATION:
(PAB-yuh-luhm)

MEANING:
noun: Bland intellectual fare: insipid or simplistic ideas, entertainment, writing, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin pabulum (food, fuel, fodder), from pascere (to feed). Ultimately from the Indo-European root pa- (to protect or feed), which also gave us food, foster, fodder, forage, pasture, pantry, and companion. Earliest documented use: 1661.

NOTES:
Originally pabulum was something that nourished. During the 1920s, three Canadian pediatricians developed a bland, soft infant formula that was later marketed under the brand name Pablum and eventually the words pabulum/pablum came to refer to things simplistic or banal.

USAGE:
"'This is not art,' I said. 'This is casual diversion, pabulum for the merchant class.'"
Haim Watzman; Interzmezzo; The Jerusalem Report (Israel); Dec 19, 2011.

See more usage examples of pabulum in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. -Herman Melville, novelist and poet (1819-1891)

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