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A.Word.A.Day--katabasis

Pronunciation RealAudio

katabasis (kuh-TAB-uh-sis) noun

A retreat, especially a military one.

[After the march of 10,000 Greeks subsequent to the death of Cyrus the Younger, related by Xenophon in his historical work Anabasis. From Greek katabasis (a going down), from katabainein (to go down). Compare with anabasis.]

"Like Western civilization itself, as his friend and chief critical promoter Harold Rosenberg sardonically remarked, De Kooning was always in decline. This katabasis is supposed to have begun in the early '50s, with the Women series." Robert Hughes, Seeing the Face in the Fire, Time, May 30, 1994.

This week's theme: words related to the military.

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