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This week's theme: words formed using combining forms.

Leptodactylous (lep-tuh-DAK-tuh-luhs) adjective

If you are still stuck to those tired words to describe your sweetie, here is a new one for you. Leptodactylous means having fine, slender digits. No, not, digits on a bathroom scale or on a bank account. Here digit means a toe or a finger.

It all sounds Greek to me: from lepto- (thin) and -dactylous (fingered or toed).

-Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)

"Hitchock described many examples of strangely-shaped, thin-toed footprints and classified them as leptodactylous footprints." Brendan Hanrahan; Great Day Trips in the Connecticut Valley of the Dinosaurs; Perry Heights Press; 2004.

A clarification about "algorithm" mentioned in jest in yesterday's newsletter: The word algorithm doesn't have anything to do with algo- (pain). It's an eponym, but it has nothing to do with Al Gore, either. Rather, it's a variant of algorism which came from Arabic al (the) + Khwarizmi (the last name of a 9th-century Arabic mathematician). The word algebra is also from Arabic.


There is a field beyond all notions of right and wrong. Come, meet me there. -Rumi, poet and mystic (1207-1273)

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