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Apr 14, 2010
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Toponyms

This week's words
shanghai
munich
bayonet
babylon
maffick

US Marines practice bayonet fighting
US Marines practice bayonet fighting
(Photo: US Marine Corps)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

bayonet

PRONUNCIATION:
(BAY-uh-nit, -net, bay-uh-NET)

MEANING:
noun: A blade attached to the muzzle of a gun, used in close combat.
verb: To fight or kill with bayonet.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Bayonne, a town in southwest France, where the weapon originated or was first used in early 17th century. You'd think with modern high-tech gadgetry, a 17th century weapon would now be obsolete, but the bayonet is still taken seriously.

USAGE:
"Although no tactician has taken the bayonet seriously since the Civil War, the Army sees bayonet training as a way of pumping up aggressiveness. On this morning, some of the women seemed tentative as they jabbed at dummies -- but no more so than an equal ratio of men, the sergeants said."
This Woman's Army With a `No Big Deal' Shrug, Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood Again Mixes Genders; St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Feb 26, 1995.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god. -Jean Rostand, biologist and philosopher (1894-1977)

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