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Jul 22, 2011
This week's theme
Words of French origin

This week's words
nouveau riche
voulu
mise en scene
pur sang
coup de main

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Next week's theme
Animal-related words that are used metaphorically
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

coup de main

PRONUNCIATION:
(kood-uh-MAN*)
[* the last syllable is nasal]

MEANING:
noun: A surprise attack or sudden action.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French, literally "blow of the hand" (as opposed to from the artillery). Earliest documented use: 1759.

USAGE:
"This astonishing coup de main had results which were decisive on the development of the first day's fighting."
Major John Howard: Obituary; The Times (London, UK); May 7, 1999.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Ideas that enter the mind under fire remain there securely and for ever. -Leon Trotsky, revolutionary and writer (1879-1940)

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