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madeleine (MAD-uh-lin) noun
1. A small, rich cake baked in a fluted, shell-shaped pan.
2. Something that evokes memory or nostalgia.
[Contraction of French gâteau à la Madeleine, literally Cake Madeleine. Who this Madeleine was isn't clear. The recipe for this cake has been attributed to the French cook Madeleine Paulnier/Paumier but that's unsubstantiated.]
"I'll never forget the summer I first read `Little Women.' Twenty-six
years later, that memorable opening ("`Christmas won't be Christmas
without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug") is a literary
madeleine, taking me back to an earlier time when reading was an
unmixed pleasure and a book a magical charm that sealed me off from
"Exhume Once Upon A Mattress, I double dare you, but keep your mitts
off a musical madeleine from my hoary past."
We often choose names because they have specific meanings. Our daughter's name Ananya, for example, means unique in Sanskrit. But many times, what we do (or what's done to us) assigns new meanings to those names. The name Philip means a lover of horses (from Greek). But the orations of Demosthenes against Philip, king of Macedon in the fourth century BCE, resulted in another sense of the word. Today philippic is a synonym for bitter denunciation. The word donkey is derived from the name Duncan.
All this week's words are terms coined after names. Some of these are derived from fictional characters, while others are based on real persons. Some are based on first names, while others are from last names.
We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words. -Anna Sewell, writer (1820-1878)
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