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Jun 24, 2013
This week's theme
Word coined from animals

This week's words
fishwife
skunky
gossamer
birdlime
chameleonic

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

This (video) has to be the most unusual way of drinking water by a cat (or any animal for that matter). Some have called it the most inefficient way of drinking water, but who needs efficiency when you are having fun?

Now that I have done my part in clogging the intertubes with cat videos, as a penance for the next five days I'm going to try not to use a word referring to cats (cat's paw, Kilkenny cats, wildcatter, ailurophile, chatoyant, catbird seat).

But we will see words derived from other animals.

fishwife

PRONUNCIATION:
(FISH-wyf)

MEANING:
noun
1. A coarse, vulgar-tongued woman.
2. A woman who sells fish.

ETYMOLOGY:
From fish, from Old English fisc (fish) + wife, from Old English wif (woman). Earliest documented use: 1523.

NOTES:
Billingsgate, London's famous fish market, was once known for the foul language of its fishmongers. Now the word billingsgate has become synonymous with coarse language. Fishwife is another word to come out of this trade, as in the expression "to swear like a fishwife". It has not been determined who the winner might be in a swearing contest between a fishwife and a sailor.

USAGE:
"His mother was a shrill fishwife who yelled and screamed even with visitors in the house."
Brian Doherty; 40 Years of Free Minds and Free Markets; Reason (Los Angeles); Dec 2008.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Every human being's essential nature is perfect and faultless, but after years of immersion in the world we easily forget our roots and take on a counterfeit nature. -Lao-Tzu, philosopher (6th century BCE)

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