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Feb 19, 2018
This week’s theme
Miscellaneous words

This week’s words
defeasible
usurious
benthos
gerent
hyperborean

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Some words have all the vowels, others are derived after names of people, still others are super-long. These unique word forms and origins are what makes those words interesting.

But what about words that fit none of the above or other categories? Are they uninteresting words?

The Interesting Word Paradox version of the Interesting Number Paradox would tell us there are no uninteresting words. For example, if we make a list of all those uninteresting words, there will be a word on the list that stands out as the shortest word. That makes it interesting and it would no longer be part of an uninteresting list. Then, move to the second shortest word on the list. Rinse and repeat. Soon you have emptied the list.

The paradox aside, each word is unique, just as each human is special. There are no perfect synonyms. And that makes each word, like each human, special.

This week we’ll visit with five miscellaneous words. They may not fit a particular category, but they are interesting words nonetheless.

defeasible

PRONUNCIATION:
(di-FEE-zuh-buhl)

MEANING:
adjective: Capable of being revised, defeated, or annulled.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Old French desfaire (to undo or destroy), from Latin dis- (apart, away) + facere (to do). Ultimately from the Indo-European root dhe- (to set or put), which is also the source of do, deed, factory, fashion, face, rectify, defeat, sacrifice, satisfy, Sanskrit sandhi (joining), Urdu purdah (veil or curtain), and Russian duma (council). Earliest documented use: 1586.

USAGE:
“Surely many moral duties are defeasible, and in that sense relative. We all recognize that although lying is typically wrong, under certain circumstances -- to protect someone’s life, for example -- it is justifiable.”
Austin Dacey; Believing in Doubt; The New York Times; Feb 3, 2006.

See more usage examples of defeasible in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Architecture is inhabited sculpture. -Constantin Brancusi, sculptor (19 Feb 1876-1957)

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