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This week's theme
15-letter words

This week's words
infundibuliform
subintelligitur
lepidopterology
mathematicaster
dermatoglyphics

Today's word in
Visual Thesaurus

Dermatoglyphics of Albert Einstein
(with whom Wordsmith.org shares its birthday, March 14)
Einstein's left handprint
Einstein's right handprint
(Source: Hand und Persönlichkeit)

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Words with no repeating letters
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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.

ETYMOLOGY:
The term was 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) that is also the source of cleve, glyph, clever, and clove (garlic). And that's also where we get cleavage, cleft palate, and cloven hooves.

USAGE:
"What makes dermatoglyphics important as markers for disease and traits is the fact that they develop at specific times in the foetus. Fingerprints, for example, begin to form at around the 13th week and are completed around week 18 -- the same time that critical growth in the brain is taking place."
Roger Dobson; Scientists Say Palm-reading is True Guide to Intelligence; The Sunday Times (London, UK); Dec 9, 2001.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Snakes and ladders: the game of organized religions. -Yahia Lababidi, writer (b. 1973)

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