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Jun 8, 2015
This week’s theme
Toponyms

This week’s words
antimacassar
podunk
charlatan
spaniel
Jerusalem syndrome

antimacassar
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Summer is around the corner, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. If your summer plans call for travel, it may be hard to pick a place -- there are some 200 countries and territories. The same can be said for words. Every week I look at the dictionary and decide on words out of more than half a million words in the English language.

Well, this week I have picked words derived from the names of places. Such words are called toponyms, from Greek topos (place) + onoma (name). We’ll ride these words to places in Italy, Indonesia, USA, Spain, and Israel.

antimacassar

PRONUNCIATION:
(an-ti-muh-KAS-suhr)

MEANING:
noun: A piece of covering placed over the back or arms of a seat to protect from hair oil, dirt, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From anti- (against) + Macassar oil (a hair oil), said to be made from ingredients from Macassar (now spelled as Makassar), a city in Indonesia. Earliest documented use: 1852.

USAGE:
“We take taxis home. There are antimacassars on the back of the seat.”
Japan: Lost in a Dream; The Sunday Independent (Johannesburg, South Africa); May 3, 2015.

See more usage examples of antimacassar in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The memory of most men is an abandoned cemetery where lie, unsung and unhonored, the dead whom they have ceased to cherish. -Marguerite Yourcenar, novelist (8 Jun 1903-1987)

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