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May 29, 2009
This week's theme
Words derived from numbers

This week's words
decussate
hecatomb
atone
tessera
decuman

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Words having many unrelated meanings

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

decuman

PRONUNCIATION:
(DEK-yoo-muhn)

MEANING:
adjective: Very large.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin decumanus, variant of decimanus (of the tenth), from decimus (tenth), from decem (ten). The word was often applied to waves from the belief that every tenth wave is greater than the others. The word also referred to the main gate of a military camp in ancient Rome. This gate faced away from the enemy and the tenth cohort of the legion was stationed there. A related word is decimate and a dean is, literally speaking, a chief of ten.

USAGE:
"The lover whose soul shaken is
In some decuman billow of bliss."
Francis Thompson; The Way of a Maid; c. 1890.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Every man thinks God is on his side. The rich and powerful know he is. -Jean Anouilh, dramatist (1910-1987)

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