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A.Word.A.Day--finis

Pronunciation RealAudio

finis (FIN-is, fee-NEE) noun

The end; conclusion.

[From Middle English, from Latin finis.]

The Latin term "finis coronat opus" literally means "the end crowns the work".

"Marinov said ... 'That spelt finis to our hopes of a recovery.'" Marinov Laments Referee's Decisions; The Times (Valletta, Malta); Aug 14, 2003.

"But in hauling the Army vehicle clear of the flats, the tow truck bumped a hornet's nest in nearby bushes. Angry occupants of the nest emerged and stung the garage man and the soldier impartially. Finis was yet to be written, however. Two yachtsmen in sailboat on the bay crowded the rail so eagerly to watch the proceedings their craft overturned." John Watters; Early Files; Barnstable Patriot (Massachusetts); Aug 23, 2003.

A recent story in the New York Times talked about a bunch of astute entrepreneurs mining eBay for misspelled items. Buyers typically find what they are looking for by searching the site. No wonder goods listed as labtop computers, camras, and saphires didn't attract many. That's where those enterprising bidders make their profit. They search the auction site for a misspelling, buy the item in question, and then resell it at its true value (with correct spelling, of course). Their success proves that a misspelling can cost more than just a few points in a school report.

On the other hand, many words have slightly variant spellings (often with different shades of meaning) of everyday words. At first glance, they may appear to be misspellings, but they're not. The five words selected this week will add to your verbal arsenal, especially if you're playing Scrabble or if your keyboard has a broken key.

-Anu Garg garg AT wordsmith.org

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