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Oct 4, 2010
This week's theme
Words about relations

This week's words
nepotism
cozen
avuncular
cater-cousin
Dutch uncle

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Many words in the English language make use of words about relations metaphorically. To father is to be the originator of something. There are motherboards and daughterboards in electronics. To husband something is to be thrifty with it. To say (or cry) uncle is to concede defeat.

This week we feature a few words that allude to uncles and cousins. Enrich your verbal clan with the figurative use of these words.

nepotism

PRONUNCIATION:
(NEP-uh-tiz-uhm)

MEANING:
noun: Favoritism shown to relatives and friends, especially in business or political appointments.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Italian nepotismo, from Latin nepos (grandson, nephew). Ultimately from the Indo-European root nepot- (grandson, nephew) that is also the source of the words nephew and niece.

NOTES:
The word originated from the practice of popes in the Roman Catholic Church to confer important positions to their sons. Since a pope had taken the vow of chastity, his son was euphemistically called a nephew.

USAGE:
"What is not siphoned off in corruption is wasted, due to the ineptitude of those appointed on the basis of nepotism and cronyism."
Mahreen Aziz Khan; Demo-crassy Rules; The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan); Sep 25, 2010.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. -John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social reformer (1819-1900)

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