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Dec 12, 2016
This week’s theme
Usage examples from well-known authors

This week’s words
behoof
comminute
maffick
inhere
spavined

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

The dramatist Dennis Potter once said, “The trouble with words is that you never know whose mouths they’ve been in.” Well, with some words, you do want them to be in other mouths, in mouths that know what they are talking about. Having traveled through those mouths the words acquire a cachet, a stamp of approval, a certain imprimatur. This week we’ll look at five words that have flowed through well-known writers’ mouths, pens, or keyboards.

The people whose quotations will illustrate this week’s words are Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, Saki, Edward Abbey, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

behoof

PRONUNCIATION:
(bi-HOOF)

MEANING:
noun: Advantage; benefit.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Old English behof (profit, need). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kap- (to grasp), which is also the root of captive, capsule, chassis, cable, occupy, deceive, caitiff, captious, and gaff. Earliest documented use: around 1275.

USAGE:
“Is not every man a student, and do not all things exist for the student’s behoof?”
Ralph Waldo Emerson; The American Scholar, a speech delivered Aug 31, 1837.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The ring always believes that the finger lives for it. -Malcolm De Chazal, writer and painter (12 Sep 1902-1981)

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