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Nov 25, 2011
This week's theme
Words borrowed from languages that are now extinct

This week's words
cacique
wampum
pharaoh
mantissa
dragoman

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

dragoman

PRONUNCIATION:
(DRAG-uh-man)

MEANING:
noun: An interpreter or guide.

ETYMOLOGY:
The word took a scenic route to its present form via French, Italian, Latin/Greek, Arabic, and Aramaic, from Akkadian targumanu (interpreter). Earliest documented use: 1300s. Akkadian is a now-extinct Semitic language once spoken in ancient Mesopotamia and written in cuneiform.

USAGE:
"Soon, Art Buchwald set himself up as the laughing dragoman to American celebrities. The foster home boy became Our Man in Paris. He took Elvis Presley to the Lido."
Lance Morrow; Franglais Spoken Here; Time (New York); Sep 30, 1996.

"Born in Jerusalem, Wadie Said went from being a dragoman to a salesman in the United States and thence to a hugely successful businessman in Egypt."
Penelope Lively; Books: Out of Place: State of Confusion; The Guardian (London, UK); Oct 9, 1999.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar. -Bradley Miller, activist (b. 1956)

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