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Jul 30, 2012
This week's theme
Words that have the plural spelled the same but pronounced differently

This week's words
corps
faux pas
rendezvous
pince-nez
precis

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Back in 2010, President Obama tripped on the word corps. Given that he is a highly educated person his faux pas was duly criticized.

But it's not unusual for people to stumble on words borrowed from other languages. In this regard, French is especially treacherous in which about a quarter of the letters sit idle as if on strike, adding little to the pronunciation.

As if that's not enough, there are complications of pluralization. This week we've selected five words that are borrowed from French. In the plural, even though the spelling stays the same as the singular, their pronunciation changes. Though in French even the plural pronunciation remains the same as in the singular.

corps

PRONUNCIATION:
(kohr)
plural corps (kohrz)

MEANING:
noun: A group of persons associated in a common organization or engaged in a common activity.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French corps (body), from Latin corpus (body). Earliest documented use: 1711.

USAGE:
"The diplomatic corps in Cuba on Tuesday paid homage to the outgoing Angolan ambassador."
Diplomatic Corps Pays Homage; Angola Press; Aug 25, 2011.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The arrow has to draw back to fly ahead. -Proverb

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