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Apr 21, 2009
This week's theme
There is a word for it

This week's words
perendinate
moirologist
prosopagnosia
xanthodontous
borborygmus

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

moirologist

PRONUNCIATION:
(moy-ROL-uh-jist)

MEANING:
noun: A hired mourner.

NOTES:
There are some things in life money can't buy, for everything else, there's MasterCard. With the right credit card you could even hire mourners for your funeral or find the right sentiment. While researching this word, I came across websites that offer "eulogy packs". One such site lists a "Mother's Eulogy pack" that includes "9 speeches, 3 poems, 3 free bonus". Only $25.95 -- have your credit card ready. Fathers go cheaper: $19.97.

Let's not be too smug and look down upon those who buy these packs. When we go to the neighborhood store to buy a greeting card or a sympathy card, we're also hiring someone to package words to help us convey our feelings.

Professional mourners are not a new thing either -- there's a long tradition going back to ancient Greece and beyond. As late as 1908 a New York Times article reported on a professional mourners' strike in Paris.

Then there is claque, a group of people hired to applaud a performer at a show.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek moira (fate, death) + logos (word).

USAGE:
"There may be found traces, too, of Lethe, the river of forgetfulness in the death ballads sung by the hired mourners... The moirologists will sing of the loneliness of the living, of the horrors of death."
George Walter Prothero; The Quarterly Review; John Murray (London, UK); 1886.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Oh, it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant. -William Shakespeare, playwright and poet (1564-1616)

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