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Sep 20, 2011
This week's theme
Words about books

This week's words
vade mecum
enchiridion
roman-fleuve
chapbook
omnibus

An enchiridion by Pope Leo
An enchiridion by Pope Leo
Photo: Wierus

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

enchiridion

PRONUNCIATION:
(en-ky-RID-ee-uhn, -kih-)

MEANING:
noun: A handbook or a manual.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin enchiridion, from Greek encheiridion, from en- (in) + cheir (hand) + -idion (diminutive suffix). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ghes- (hand) that also gave us cheiromancy/chiromancy (palmistry), chiral (not superimposable on its mirror image), and surgeon (literally, one who works with hands). Earliest documented use: 1541.

NOTES:
In the beginning an enchiridion was a book concise enough to be carried in one's hand, as its origin from Greek cheir (hand) suggests. Both 'handbook' and 'manual' are literal equivalents of the word from English and Latin (from Latin manus: hand) respectively.

USAGE:
"What to read: Toronto Life has been the enchiridion for Toronto's savvy since 1966."
Alexander Besant; Canada's Capital of Cool; Times Union (Albany, New York); May 16, 2010.

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

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