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Jul 15, 2005
This week's theme
Words from movie titles

This week's words
gaslight
mondo
stepford
zelig
mitty

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Mitty

PRONUNCIATION:
(MIT-ee)

MEANING:
noun: An ordinary, timid person who indulges in daydreams involving great adventures and triumphs.

ETYMOLOGY:
After the title character in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a short story (1939) by James Thurber, later made into a movie (1947) of the same name.

NOTES:
James Thurber's story appeared in the March 18, 1939 issue of the New Yorker. In the story, Walter Mitty is a meek husband, rather uxorious, who fantasizes of great exploits to escape the humdrum of daily life. One minute he is dreaming of being a heroic pilot ("Throw on the power lights! Rev her up to 8500!"), next minute he becomes a daring naval commander. In his next thought he transforms into a master surgeon, and even a cool killer.

USAGE:
"The Mitty-ish George Jackson is a Peckham bank clerk who begins each day expecting a lottery win, and a man in whom hope -- despite its track record--springs eternal."
Dan Cairns; The Difficult Unicorn; Sunday Times (London, UK); Dec 15, 2002.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions. -Robert Lynd, writer (1879-1949)

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