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Oct 17, 2012
This week's theme
Optimists and pessimists from fiction who became words

This week's words
pollyanna
jeremiah
micawber
cassandra
pangloss

Mr Micawber
Mr Micawber
Illustration: Fred Barnard (1846-1896)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Micawber

PRONUNCIATION:
(mih-KAW-buhr)

MEANING:
noun: An eternal optimist.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Wilkins Micawber, an incurable optimist in the novel David Copperfield (1850) by Charles Dickens. His schemes for making money never materialize, but he's always hopeful that "something will turn up". Earliest documented example of the word used allusively: 1852.

USAGE:
"As the shadow work-and-pensions secretary, David Willetts, said yesterday, he takes the Mr Micawber approach to economics: something will turn up."
Larry Elliott; Mr Micawber May Find Result Misery; The Guardian (London, UK); Nov 4, 2004.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Nature never said to me: Do not be poor. Still less did she say: Be rich. Her cry to me was always: Be independent. -Nicolas de Chamfort, writer (1741-1794)

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