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A.Word.A.Day--bourn

Pronunciation RealAudio

This week's theme: uncommon homophones of common words.

bourn (born) noun

1. A destination or goal.

2. A boundary or limit.

[From Middle French bourne, from Old French bodne (boundary). Ultimately from Indo-European root bhendh- (to bind) that is also the source of band, bend, bind, bond, bundle, and bandanna.]

A small stream

[Variant of burn (brook).]

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

-Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)

"There is still an undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns with credibility intact." Dan Hancox; The Download; New Statesman (London, UK); Oct 20, 2005.

X-Bonus

Because we don't understand the brain very well we're constantly tempted to use the latest technology as a model for trying to understand it. In my childhood we were always assured that the brain was a telephone switchboard. (What else could it be?) And I was amused to see that Sherrington, the great British neuroscientist, thought that the brain worked like a telegraph system. Freud often compared the brain to hydraulic and electromagnetic systems. Leibniz compared it to a mill, and now, obviously, the metaphor is the digital computer. -John R. Searle, philosophy professor (1932- )

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