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Apr 24, 2012
This week's theme
Words from fencing

This week's words
foible
forte
elan
riposte
touché

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

forte

PRONUNCIATION:
(fort, FOHR-tay)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A strong point: something in which a person excels.
2. The stronger, lower part of a sword blade.

Used in music direction (FOHR-tay)
adjective: 3. Loud.
adverb: 4. In a forceful manner.

ETYMOLOGY:
For 1, 2: From French forte (strong), from Latin fortis (strong). Earliest documented use: before 1648. Also see foible.
For 3, 4: From Italian forte (strong, loud), from Latin fortis (strong). Also see sforzando. Earliest documented use: 1724.

NOTES:
The noun sense of the word was originally pronounced as a single syllable (fort), as in French, however the two-syllable pronunciation (FOHR-tay) has mostly supplanted it. The word is in that limbo state where no matter how you pronounce it, someone may fault you for it.

USAGE:
"Peter Mandelson made blunders in the very dark arts that were supposed to be his forte."
European Redemption; The Economist (London, UK); Oct 11, 2008.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs. -Joseph Addison, essayist and poet (1672-1719)

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