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Dec 28, 2016
This week’s theme
Long words

This week’s words
chintz
sesquipedalian
dermatoglyphics
hemidemisemiquaver
supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

dermatoglyphics
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

dermatoglyphics

PRONUNCIATION:
(duhr-mat-uh-GLIF-iks, -muh-tuh-)

MEANING:
noun:
1. The ridge patterns of skin on the inner surface of the hands and feet.
2. The scientific study of these skin patterns.

NOTES:
It is one of the longest words with no repeated letters. Can you find another one of the same length? Here’s a hint: you can’t copyright it. It’s ‘uncopyrightable’.

ETYMOLOGY:
Coined in 1926 by Dr Harold Cummins (1893-1976) from Greek dermato- (skin) + glyphein (to carve). Ultimately from the Indo-European root gleubh- (to tear apart), which is also the source of cleave, glyph, clever, and clove (garlic). And that’s also where we get cleavage, cleft palate, and cloven hooves. Earliest documented use: 1926.

USAGE:
“Finger patterns can show the presence of inherited diseases. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about dermatoglyphics.”
Jessica Matthews; Maverick in the ER; Harlequin; 2011.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly. -Rose Franken, author and playwright (28 Dec 1895-1988)

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