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A.Word.A.Daywith Anu Garg
noun: A task given, especially as a punishment.
In the beginning, a pensum was the amount of wool to be spun. Eventually, the word became generic and came to refer to a piece of work or task. Later, it morphed into another specialized form: a task given as a school punishment. The word is from pendere (to hang, weigh), ultimately from the Indo-European root (s)pen- (to draw, to stretch, to spin), which also gave us pendulum, spider, pound, pansy, pendant, ponder, appendix, penthouse, depend, spontaneous, vilipend, filipendulous, perpend, equipoise, pendulous, and pensive. Earliest documented use: 1667.
“I preferred this to the hand-cramping pensums Mademoiselle would think up, such as making me copy out two hundred times the proverb Qui aime bien, châtie bien [Spare the rod and spoil the child].”
Vladimir Nabokov; Speak, Memory; Victor Gollancz; 1951.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:What for centuries raised man above the beast is not the cudgel but the irresistible power of unarmed truth. -Boris Pasternak, poet, novelist, Nobel laureate (10 Feb 1890-1960)