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Feb 8, 2011
This week's theme
Words to describe people

This week's words
dyspeptic
caitiff
tetchy
valetudinarian
reticent

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

caitiff

PRONUNCIATION:
(KAY-tif)

MEANING:
noun: A cowardly and despicable person.
adjective: cowardly, despicable.

ETYMOLOGY:
Via French from Latin captivus (captive), from capere (to seize). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kap- (to grasp), which is also the root of captive, capsule, capable, capture, cable, chassis, occupy, deceive, captious, and gaff. Earliest documented use: Before 1300.]

USAGE:
"I followed him through the streets, listening to his rant, the insults directed at me for knowing cutpurses and caitiffs, and how dare I lead him into such dens of ordure."
Frank McCourt; From an Affair with Books to a Book Fair; The New York Times; Sep 19, 1997.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
There is no greater mistake than the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued. -Thomas Huxley, biologist and writer (1825-1895)

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