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Aug 30, 2004
This week's theme
Words that are also names

This week's words
alexia
julienne
tommyrot
merry-andrew
garth

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Expectant parents comb baby name books to look for the perfect labels for their precious ones. They often scan thousands and thousands of names to find just the right one.

Many choose a name because someone famous has the same moniker. For others, their choice is based on its meaning. Many simply base their selections on how the name sounds. Check out the result of recent research about vowels in a name.

Often a name becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is even a term for it: aptronym (a name that's especially suited). Check out some real-life examples of aptronyms. In fairness to people named Alexia, their parents probably chose that name not because of its dictionary definition, but because it's a feminine form of the name Alexius (or Alexander) meaning defender, from Greek alexein (to defend). But then again, alexander is also the name of a kind of cocktail. Did someone say, "What's in a name?"

This week we look at five words that are also names.

alexia

Pronunciation RealAudio

alexia (uh-LEK-see-uh) noun

A neurological disorder marked by the loss of ability to read words. Also called word blindness.

[From Greek a- (not) + lexis (speech), from legein (to speak), confused with Latin legere (to read) + Latin -ia (disease). Ultimately from Indo-European root leg- (to collect) that resulted in other derivatives such as lexicon, legal, dialogue, lecture, logic, legend, logarithm, intelligent, diligent, sacrilege, elect, and loyal.]

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

"Unlike Bill, who has pure alexia, people with partial alexias recognize letters but can read only certain types of words. They may read concrete nouns such as 'inn,' but cannot decipher more abstract words such as the preposition 'in'."
Lauran Neergaard; Stroke Victims Relearn to Read; Seattle Times; Jul 6, 2004.

"Experiments like those in St. Louis show for the first time that alexia is the result of damage to the part of the brain that recognizes words by determining whether they conform to the rules of spelling."
Jerry E. Bishop; Mapping the Mind; The Wall Street Journal (New York); Oct 12, 1993.

X-Bonus

Beauty is the purgation of superfluities. -Michelangelo Buonarroti, sculptor, painter, architect, and poet (1475-1564)

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