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Jan 29, 2007
This week's theme
Words with hidden animals

This week's words
cynosure
chatoyant
coxcomb
dragoon
bulimia
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

cynosure

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

I remember that biology class many years back. We took a few drops of water from a nearby pond and put them on a slide under the microscope. When we peeked through the eyepiece we saw all sorts of life forms -- amoeba, paramecium, and others -- floating around.

This week's words are something like that. There are animals hidden in these words. You just need to put them under the microscope of etymology to see them.

cynosure (SY-nuh-shoor) noun

1. One who is the center of attraction or interest.
2. One who serves to direct or guide.

[Originally the term was applied to the constellation Ursa Minor or the North Star (Polaris) that was used in navigation. The term is derived from Latin Cynosura (Ursa Minor), from Greek kynosoura (dog's tail), ultimately from the Indo-European root kwon- (dog) that is also the source of canine, chenille (from French chenille: caterpillar, literally, little dog), cynic, kennel, canary, hound, dachshund, and corgi. And from the root ors- (buttocks) which also gave us ass, dodo, and squirrel.]

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

"If Bipasha became the cynosure of all eyes, Payal too hogged the limelight."
Dancing Their Way to the Bank; Economic Times (New Delhi, India); Dec 31, 2006.

X-Bonus

It is better to have loafed and lost than never to have loafed at all. -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)

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