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Aug 17, 2009
This week's theme
Words that exercise all your fingers

This week's words
diastrophism
micropsia
supplicatory
adiaphorism
simpatico
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

A few hundred years ago if you spoke about the importance of exercise, people would laugh at you. They got all the exercise they needed from work, outside or at home. Making a living, raising a family, walking to and from places, gave them enough movement, so they didn't have to worry about exercise.

Today we have fitness centers, gyms, and personal trainers. There are high-tech machines, and even electronic games to help us exercise. Each gadget comes with its own selling points. Some you can strap to your arms and legs and tummy and relax in front of the TV -- they claim its vibrations give you your daily recommended quota of exercise. There are virtual reality exercises, dancercise, elliptical, and who knows what else.

In that spirit, consider this week's words as your complete exercise system for the fingers. This fingercise provides the daily recommended exercise according to federal guidelines. Each of the words featured in this week's A.Word.A.Day, when typed on a standard qwerty keyboard, will exercise all your fingers.

diastrophism

PRONUNCIATION:
(dy-AS-truh-fiz-uhm)

MEANING:
noun: The process of deformation of the earth's crust that produces continents, mountains, ocean basins, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek dia- (across) + strophe (turning). Ultimately from the Indo-European root streb(h)- (to wind or turn) that also gave us catastrophe (literally, an overturning) and apostrophe (literally, turning away, referring to the omission of a letter), and boustrophedon.

USAGE:
"There is even a mosque across the street from the hotel, but most people here believe it was spirits, not volcanic diastrophism, that sent deadly vapors roiling up from Lake Nios, killing the villagers who lived over the hills."
Jonathan Broder; Spirits in Lake, Bottle Haunt Cameroon; The Chicago Tribune; Sep 2, 1986.

"But facing impending disaster is the cost of living in a place blessed by geography and climate, but cursed by the immutable process called diastrophism that lifts mountains, carves coastlines, and moves continents."
Still on Shaky Ground -- 10 Years After Loma Prieta; The San Francisco Chronicle; Oct 17, 1999.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Truth shines the brighter clad in verse. -Jonathan Swift, satirist (1667-1745)

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