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Dec 9, 2011
This week's theme
Words having origins in Iraq

This week's words
baldachin
tabby
babylon
muslin
babel

Tower of Babel
The Tower of Babel
Art: Pieter Bruegel the Elder
(c. 1525-1569)

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Next week's theme
Words borrowed from Yiddish
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

babel

PRONUNCIATION:
(BAB-uhl, BAY-buhl)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A confused mixture of noises or voices.
2. A scene of noise or confusion.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Hebrew Babhel (Babylon). In the Old Testament (Genesis 11:4-9), people united in an attempt to build a city with a tower that reached the heavens. This displeased god who halted the project by confounding people's speech so they wouldn't understand one another. Earliest documented use: before 1382.

USAGE:
"While an excited babel of Spanish, German, Japanese, and Hindi emanated from the dozens of television news crews in the street, the response to Charles and Camilla's I dos among locals was mostly We Don't."
Glenda Cooper; In Windsor, a Royal Pain; The Washington Post; Apr 10, 2005.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Money. You don't know where it's been, / but you put it where your mouth is. / And it talks. -Dana Gioia, poet, critic, and translator (b. 1950)

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