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Sep 18, 2017
This week’s theme
Words that result in another word when a single letter is prefixed

This week’s words
ovine
uberty
lection
rill
otic

New Yorker cartoon: 'He tells it like it is.'
“He tells it like it is.”
Cartoon: Paul Noth/New Yorker

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Recently, I was in a group when the discussion turned to one’s favorite dish. A woman talked about her favorite preparation: smashed potatoes. I had never heard of it. Surely she meant “mashed potatoes”, I thought, though the mental image of a chef smashing potatoes with a hammer was funny.

Later, I googled the term and learned that there is a real dish named smashed potatoes. Tells you how much I know. Smashed potatoes and mashed potatoes are two different beasts. They have about as much in common as pomme and pomme de terre.

What a difference a letter makes. The same is true for the words this week. You can add an initial letter to them to turn them into a completely different word.

ovine

PRONUNCIATION:
(O-vyn)

MEANING:
adjective: Of, relating to, or resembling, sheep.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin ovis (sheep). Ultimately from the Indo-European root owi- (sheep), which also gave us ewe. Earliest documented use: 1676.

USAGE:
“George Bernard Shaw said that the English ‘worship their great artists indiscriminately and abjectly’ and described this phenomenon -- the uncritical ovine devotion to Shakespeare -- as ‘Bardolatry’.”
James Gingell; Rejecting the Cult of Bardolatry Does Not Make You a Philistine; The Guardian (London, UK); May 20, 2016.

See more usage examples of ovine in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (18 Sep 1709-1784)

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