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Mar 24, 2010
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This week's words
cloud-cuckoo-land
moment of truth
bread and circuses
God's acre
paper tiger

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

bread and circuses

PRONUNCIATION:
(bred and SUR-kuh-sez)

MEANING:
noun: Things intended to keep people happy and to divert their attention from problems.

ETYMOLOGY:
Translation of the Latin term panis et circenses, from panis (bread) + et (and), circenses (circuses). The term originated in the satires of Roman poet Juvenal (c. 60-140). Circus refers to the circus games, such as chariot races, held in Roman times. The term has been loan translated into many other languages. In Spanish, for example, it is pan y toros (bread and bullfights).

USAGE:
"Madrid has set up a series of summits that look a lot like bread and circuses for a domestic audience at time of economic misery."
John Vinocur; Still Waiting for a Brave New Europe; The New York Times; Jan 4, 2010.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a heaven that it shows itself cloddish. -Evelyn Waugh, novelist (1903-1966)

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