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Feb 19, 2016
This week’s theme
Words formed in error

This week’s words
megrim
posthumous
lutestring
messuage
frontispiece

frontispiece
frontispiece
Photo: Gerard

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Miscellaneous words
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

frontispiece

PRONUNCIATION:
(FRUN-ti-spees)

MEANING:
noun:
1. An illustration facing or preceding the title page of a book.
2. A facade, especially an ornamental facade, of a building.
3. An ornamental pediment over a door or window.

ETYMOLOGY:
The word was formed by corruption of French frontispice by association with the word ‘piece’. It’s from Latin frontispicium (facade), from front- (front) + specere (to look). Ultimately from the Indo-European root spek- (to observe), which also gave us spy, spice, species, suspect, expect, spectrum, despise, despicable, bishop, telescope, specious, speciesism, soupcon, prospicient, perspicuous, speculum, omphaloskepsis, and conspectus. Earliest documented use: 1598.

USAGE:
“I still have the physical copy, its frontispiece decorated with characters from the stories.”
Francine Prose & Ayana Mathis; Bookends; The New York Times Book Review; Oct 26, 2014.

“An ornate frontispiece above the front door, shutters, and flower boxes add charm to the white painted brick facade.”
Lauren Beale; Eva Gabor’s Onetime Estate in Holmby Hills is for Sale; Los Angeles Times; Oct 22, 2015.

See more usage examples of frontispiece in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
There's nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book. -Carson McCullers, writer (19 Feb 1917-1967)

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