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Jun 29, 2011
This week's theme
Eponyms

This week's words
jeeves
thrasonical
barmecidal
man Friday
micawber

The Barmecide's Feast
The Barmecide's Feast
Illustration: Henry Justice Ford (1860-1941), from the book The Arabian Nights Entertainments

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

barmecidal

PRONUNCIATION:
(bahr-mih-SYD-l)

MEANING:
adjective: Giving only an illusion of something; unreal.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Barmecide, a nobleman in the story "Barber's Sixth Brother" from the collection "One Thousand and One Nights" (also known as "The Arabian Nights"). In the story, Barmecide pretends to host a lavish feast for a beggar. The beggar plays along, pretending to enjoy the food and wine. He then pretends to get drunk and knocks Barmecide down in the process. In the end, Barmecide is pleased with the beggar for going with the joke and offers him a real feast. Earliest documented example of the word used allusively: 1844.

USAGE:
"A section of the industry gives the illusion of health, but it is in reality quite infirm. The barmecidal lifestyle of these thrifts is sustained by the absence of market-value accounting."
Sanford Rose; Saving the Thrifts; American Banker (New York); Feb 14, 1989.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. -William James, psychologist and philosopher (1842-1910)

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