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May 29, 2013
This week's theme
What a difference a letter makes

This week's words
palatine
collier
lares and penates
hyperbolic
debark

lares and penates
A lararium from Pompeii. In an ancient Roman home, a shrine for the guardian spirits was called lararium.
Photo: Patricio Lorente

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

lares and penates

PRONUNCIATION:
(LAR-eez and puh-NAY-teez)

MEANING:
noun:
1. Household gods (the benevolent gods in an ancient Roman household).
2. Household goods (a family's treasured possessions).

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin Lares et Penates, from Lares, plural of Lar (in Roman mythology, the deity or spirit who protected a household) + et (and) + Penates (deities of the household that were believed to bring wealth), from penus (provisions, interior of a house). Earliest documented use: 1616.

USAGE:
"But let's face it, the nearest thing that many Aussies have in the way of religion, or, as it is labelled with new-age vagueness, spirituality, are those little do-it-yourself offerings to the roadside gods, the lares and penates of the new-age pantheists."
The Soft Toy Taking on a Religious Symbolism; The Canberra Times (Australia); Jan 14, 2006.

"The storehouse of all the shame and vulnerability in Ben's life would be locked; a private museum of curios with but one visitor, himself, to stare at the degraded and rejected lares and penates."
Kate Fillion; The Artful Forgery of the Self; The Toronto Star (Canada); Feb 6, 1993.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow. -Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)

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