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A.Word.A.Day--dryasdust

Pronunciation RealAudio

This week's theme: eponyms.

dryasdust (DRY-az-dust) adjective

Extremely dull, dry, or boring.

[After Jonas Dryasdust, a fictitious person to whom Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) dedicated some of his novels.]

At the beginning of the novel Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott writes:

    DEDICATORY EPISTLE
    TO
    THE REV. DR. DRYASDUST, F.A.S.

Dr. Dryasdust however was the writer's own creation. He pretends to dedicate the novel to him for supplying him with dry historical details. Since then the term is used to describe a person devoted to dry, uninteresting details. Dryasdust -- dry as dust --- is obviously a charactonym.

-Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)

"The report is written in the [Congressional Budget Office]'s dryasdust style, but for anyone with a tolerance for numbers and an interest in policy, it is as scary as a Stephen King novel."
N. Gregory Mankiw; Government Debt: A Horror Story; Fortune (New York); Aug 3, 1998.

X-Bonus

Be good and you will be lonesome. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

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