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A.Word.A.Day--Lady Bountiful

Pronunciation RealAudio

Lady Bountiful (LAY-dee BOUN-ti-ful) noun

Someone, especially a woman, known for charity and generosity.

[After Lady Bountiful, a character in the 1707 comedy Beaux' Stratagem by the playwright George Farquhar (1678-1707).]

This play is the source of another eponym, boniface, meaning an innkeeper. Here is how the character Will Boniface describes Lady Bountiful: "My lady Bountiful is one of the best of women. Her late husband, Sir Charles Bountiful, left her with 1000 a year; and I believe she lays out one-half on't in charitable uses for the good of her neighbours. In short, she has cured more people in and about Lichfield within ten years than the doctors have killed in twenty; and that's a bold word."

"[The Citizens Advice Bureau] was sometimes portrayed as a lady bountiful organisation doing good works among the poor." Ron Ferguson; More Credit Should Go to Local Heroes; The Herald (Glasgow, UK): Aug 19, 2004.

"Of course, Oprah didn't spend a penny to look like Lady Bountiful. The giveaway cost General Motors in the vicinity of US$6-million." Anne Kingston; The Boardroom as Billboard; National Post (Canada); Oct 14, 2004.

This week's theme: eponyms.

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Heresy is only another word for freedom of thought. -Graham Greene, novelist and journalist (1904-1991)

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