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A.Word.A.Day--Dunkirk

Pronunciation RealAudio

Dunkirk (DUN-kurk) noun

1. A desperate evacuation or retreat.

2. A crisis requiring drastic measures to avoid total disaster.

[After Dunkirk (also Dunkerque), a seaport and town in northern France. In World War II, it was the site of evacuation of more than 330,000 Allied troops by sea while under German fire during May-June, 1940.]

"Nearly a month before he was named head of the Office of Management and Budget in early December, Stockman had at the instigation of Congressman Jack Kemp of New York prepared a report for Reagan called `Avoiding an Economic Dunkirk' that forecast dislocations in the credit and capital markets, a 1981 recession, soaring budget deficits and the collapse of monetary policy."
Lou Cannon; President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime; PublicAffairs; 2000.

"Humanity is now facing a sort of slow motion environmental Dunkirk. It remains to be seen whether civilization can avoid the perilous trap it has set for itself."
Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich; Brownlash: The New Environmental Anti-science; The Humanist (Washington DC); Nov 21, 1996.

This week's theme: toponyms, or words derived from the names of places.

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