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Nov 23, 2011
This week's theme
Words borrowed from languages that are now extinct

This week's words
cacique
wampum
pharaoh
mantissa
dragoman

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

pharaoh

PRONUNCIATION:
(FAR-o)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A title of an ancient Egyptian ruler.
2. A tyrant.

ETYMOLOGY:
Via Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, from Egyptian pr-o, from pr (house) + o (great). The designation was for the palace but later used to refer to the king, just as White House can refer to the US President. Earliest documented use: around 1175. Egyptian is an extinct language of ancient Egypt.

USAGE:
"Throughout most of history, governments -- usually monarchies headed by kings, emperors, pharaohs, and other major or minor tyrants -- actually owned everything under their rule, including, believe it or not, the people. In those regimes the population was considered to be subjects, not citizens. That means that the people were treated as the underlings, subjected to the will of the ruler."
Tibor Machan; The Orange Grove; The Orange County Register (California); Apr 15, 1999.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
On two occasions I have been asked, "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. -Charles Babbage, mathematician and computer scientist (1791-1871)

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