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Sep 22, 2008
This week's theme
Words from geology and geography

This week's words
archipelago
monadnock
shoal
col
isthmus

Archipelago Sea
Archipelago Sea, a part of the Baltic Sea, Finland

Map of the Archipelago Sea
Map of the Archipelago Sea
Image: Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides... they all make news from time to time. Some see them as the payoff for offending their God. That especially applies to some televangelists here in the US, who pronounce such a verdict after each catastrophe. What a vengeful God they must subscribe to!

Others see these events as evidence of nature's wrath, but lawyer and orator Robert Green Ingersoll put it best when he said, "In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences." We may mess with an ecosystem and then we have to face the consequences. What a pity that often those who make a mess get away, leaving others to face the consequences.

This week we'll see five terms to describe earth's features, many of which you can use metaphorically.

archipelago

PRONUNCIATION:
(ahr-kuh-PEL-uh-go)

MEANING:
noun: A large group of islands.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Italian arcipelago (the Aegean Sea), from Latin Egeopelagus, from arkhi- (chief) + pelagos (sea). Ultimately from the Indo-European root plak- (to be flat) which is also the source of words such as flake, flaw, placate, plead, please, and plank. Originally the term referred to the Aegean Sea (an arm of the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Turkey) that has numerous islands.

USAGE:
"'The Hungry Tide' is an archipelago of stories braided by the tidal channels that weave among them."
Richard Eder; In the Mouth of the Ganges; Los Angeles Times; May 22, 2005.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Let your capital be simplicity and contentment. -Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

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