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Jan 14, 2022
This week’s theme
Birds

This week’s words
black swan
gowk
lame duck
henpeck
ostrichism

ostrichism
Photo: Stefan Schierle / 123rf

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Words borrowed from Hebrew
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

ostrichism

PRONUNCIATION:
(OS-tri-chiz-uhm)

MEANING:
noun: The act or policy of refusing to face reality or unpleasant facts.

ETYMOLOGY:
From the erroneous popular belief that ostriches bury their heads in the sand when facing danger. From Old French ostrusce/ostriche, from Latin struthio (ostrich), from Greek strouthos. Earliest documented use: 1834.

NOTES:
The ostrich doesn’t really bury its head in the sand. This flightless bird puts its head and neck close to the ground for camouflage. Also, they nest their eggs in holes in the ground. It’s the largest (up to 9 ft or 2.7 m) and fastest bird (43 miles/hour or 70 km/hour) on the planet and can kill a lion with a kick. If you ever upset an ostrich, do not bury your head in the sand. Try apologizing. If not, be ready to be ostracized.

USAGE:
“Deciding that ostrichism is the better part of valor, I keep my eyes closed.”
Adam Davies; Mine All Mine; Riverhead; 2008.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. -Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate (14 Jan 1875-1965)

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