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Apr 30, 2014
This week's theme
Homonyms

This week's words
quiff
gird
mew
feral
bole
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

mew

PRONUNCIATION:
(myoo)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A cage for hawks, especially while molting.
2. A place for retiring or hiding.
3. In the UK, as mews, stables with living quarters. Also, a row of apartments converted from stables.

verb tr.: 4 To confine.
verb intr.: 5. To molt.

noun:
6. The high-pitched sound of a cat.
7. The characteristic sound of a gull.
8. A seagull (Larus canus).


ETYMOLOGY:
For 1-5: From Old French muer (to molt), from Latin mutare (to change). Ultimately from the Indo-European root mei- (to change or move) that has also given us commute, mutual, migrate, common, mistake, immune, and excommunicate. Earliest documented use: 1375.
For 6-7: Of imitative origin. Earliest documented use: 1325.
For 8: From Old English maew. Earliest documented use: before 12th c.

USAGE:
"They set him free the last day of October, after he had been mewed up for a month."
Lucy Montgomery; Anne of Ingleside; George G. Harrap & Co; 1939.

"Up above two falcons were mewing against the brilliant blue of the sky."
Robert Twigger; Dr Ragab's Universal Language; Picador; 2009.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I learn that ten percent of all the world's species are parasitic insects. It is hard to believe. What if you were an inventor, and you made ten percent of your inventions in such a way that they could only work by harnessing, disfiguring, or totally destroying the other ninety percent? -Annie Dillard, author (b. 1945)

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