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Mar 7, 2011
This week's theme
Words with hidden animals

This week's words
corniche
cynic
aegis
pedigree
gazette

Hawks' Nest, a corniche in New York
Hawks' Nest, a corniche in NY

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Obscuring one's appearance to deceive a predator or prey is a common tactic in the animal kingdom. Some of our fellow animals display remarkable instances of camouflage, the leafy sea dragon, for instance.

This week's AWAD features words in which animals are camouflaged, though in a different manner. A look at the word or its meaning gives no hint at its animal origins. To identify the animal behind the word you have to look at its etymology. You'll meet crow, dog, goat, crane, and a magpie in these words.

corniche

PRONUNCIATION:
(KOR-nish, kor-NEESH)

MEANING:
noun A coastal road, especially one cut into the side of a cliff.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French route en corniche, from Italian cornice (frame, ledge), perhaps from Latin cornix (crow), from its resemblance to the beak of a crow. Earliest documented use: 1837.

USAGE:
"The median strip on the corniche has a magical open-air museum."
Maureen Dowd; A Girls' Guide to Saudi Arabia; Vanity Fair (New York); Aug 2010.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Advertising is legalized lying. -H.G. Wells, writer (1866-1946)

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