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Jul 21, 2010
This week's theme
Words that look one part of speech but are other

This week's words
contumely
panegyric
nebbish
gloaming
beggar

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

nebbish

PRONUNCIATION:
(NEB-ish)

MEANING:
noun: A pitifully timid or ineffectual person.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Yiddish nebekh (poor, unfortunate), of Slavic origin. Ultimately from the Indo-European root bhag- (to share) that is also the source of baksheesh, Sanskrit bhagya (good fortune), and words related to -phagy (eating), such as onychophagia and xerophagy.

USAGE:
"Jay Baruchel plays the hero -- a security officer at the Pittsburgh airport -- as such a tongue-tied, head-ducking nebbish that it's inconceivable that he would end up with the gorgeous, smart, kind, hockey-loving woman played by Alice Eve."
Mike Hale; Playing the Odds of Love; The New York Times; Mar 12, 2010.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
They are happy men whose natures sort with their vocations. -Francis Bacon, essayist, philosopher, and statesman (1561-1626)

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