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Nov 7, 2014
This week's theme
Well-traveled words

This week's words
dragoman
golgotha
mandarin
jubilee
Mata Hari

Mata Hari sculpture by Suze Boschma-Berkhout
Sculpture of Mata Hari
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Photo: FaceMePLS

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Words that appear to be misspelled
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Mata Hari

PRONUNCIATION:
(MA-tuh HAR-ee, MAT-uh HAR-ee)

MEANING:
noun: A seductive woman who works as a spy.

ETYMOLOGY:
After exotic dancer Mata Hari, a stage name of Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (1876-1917). She was a Dutch woman, who took a Malay name, allegedly spied for the Germans, and was executed by the French. Her stage name Mata Hari means sun, literally "eye of the day", from Malay mata (eye) + hari (day, dawn). Earliest documented use: 1936.

USAGE:
"In London, Sophia joins the war effort ... and embarks upon improbable espionage escapades, hoping to come off as a Mata Hari in furs and printed chiffon."
Liesl Schillinger; The Persistence of Levity; Newsweek (New York); Sep 20, 2013.

See more usage examples of Mata Hari in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity. -Albert Camus, writer and philosopher (1913-1960)

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