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Jun 23, 2011
This week's theme
Biblical places that became words in English

This week's words
golgotha
laodicean
calvary
babel
aceldama

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

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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:
Nobody can be lucky all the time; / so when your luck deserts you in some fashion / don't think you've been abandoned in your prime, / but rather that you're saving up your ration. -Piet Hein, poet and scientist (1905-1996)

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