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Dec 28, 2015
This week’s theme
First words

This week’s words
paternoster
mittimus
gaudeamus
debenture
magnificat

paternoster
Photo: Johannes Jansson/norden.org

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

New parents cherish the first word that comes out of their baby’s mouth. What was the first word of a human? Define word. Define human. OK, that’s not easy, but this week we feature words that we know for sure were the first words in certain compositions, such as theological, legal, and financial.

The new year is around the corner. The first day of the year will be here soon. To mark this, this week we’ll feature five first words.

paternoster

PRONUNCIATION:
(PAY-tuhr NOS-tuhr, PAH-, PAT-)

MEANING:
noun
1. A sequence of words used as a formula, a charm, etc.
2. A continuously moving endless elevator that goes in a loop.
3. The Lord’s Prayer; one of the certain larger beads in a rosary on which the Lord’s Prayer is said.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin pater noster (our father), opening words of the Lord’s Prayer in Latin. Earliest documented use: before 900.

USAGE:
“She trudged doggedly across the last field, inwardly muttering her paternoster.”
Christina Shea; Smuggled: A Novel; Grove/Atlantic; 2011.

“We’d ride the open-sided paternoster elevators and giggle at the scare they gave us.”
Mary Helen Dirkx; A Great Adventure in The Shadow of War; Newsweek (New York); Sep 13, 2004.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you. -Mortimer J. Adler, philosopher, educator, and author (28 Dec 1902-2001)

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