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A.Word.A.Day--archon

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

How would you describe someone who has risen up and become a manager? Embossed!

The word boss has its origins in Dutch (from baas: master, foreman), but there are several homonyms of the word. Is your boss a timid manager, or a bungler, or ... ? Depending on how your boss runs the show, you apply one of these alternative meanings:

1. boss: a calf or a cow. That's where Bossy, a familiar name for a cow, comes from. (From English dialect borse/boss/buss: a six-month-old calf)

2. boss: a protuberance or swelling on the body of an animal or plant This is where the word emboss comes from. (From Old French boce)

3. boss-eyed, adjective: cross-eyed or squint-eyed. (origin uncertain)

4. boss, verb: to bungle. (origin uncertain)

Why refer to your supervisor just as a plain old boss? On National Boss Day (Oct 16), why not use a more colorful word from this week's selection?

archon (AHR-kon) noun

A high official or ruler.

[From Latin archon, from Greek arkhon (magistrate), from arkhein (to be first, to rule). An archon was one of the nine principal magistrates in ancient Athens.]

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"Nick Sylvester, editor of The Harvard Lampoon calls James Murphy 'The supreme eminent archon of dance.'" Tammy la Gorce; From Sulking Teenager to the King of Disco-Punk; The New York Times; May 22, 2005.

X-Bonus

It is said that a rogue does not look you in the face, neither does an honest man look at you as if he had his reputation to establish. I have seen some who did not know when to turn aside their eyes in meeting yours. A truly confident and magnanimous spirit is wiser than to contend for the mastery in such encounters. -Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

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