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A.Word.A.Day--hypergolic

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

This week's theme: words derived from Indo-European roots.

hypergolic (hy-puhr-GOL-ik) adjective

Igniting on contact.

[From German Hypergol (hypergolic fuel), from Greek hyper- (over, above) + erg- (work). Ultimately from the Indo-European root werg- (to do) which gave us ergonomic, work, energy, metallurgy, surgery, wright, and orgy.]

The term hypergolic refers to substances that ignite or explode on contact (without needing an external aid such as a spark). Hypergolic substances are used as rocket fuel and explosives.

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"From the moment they jumped in Lenny's Cadillac on the Sunshine Skyway fishing pier, there was instant hypergolic chemistry." Tim Dorsey; Hammerhead Ranch Motel; William Morrow; 2000.

X-Bonus

To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves. -Aldous Huxley, novelist (1894-1963)

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