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Today's Word

Yesterday's Word




Pronunciation RealAudio

philomath (FIL-uh-math) noun

A lover of learning.

[From Greek philomaths (fond of learning), from philo- (loving) + math- root of manthanein (to learn).]

Here's a late-blooming version of today's word: opsimath.

"Why was the library given this name? ... Tomasz Zan simply appealed to them as patron by virtue of having been a philomath and an exile who remained faithful to his country."
Czeslaw Milosz, From Milosz's ABC's, Partisan Review (Boston), Winter 2001.

During my years as an engineering student at HBTI (Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, Kanpur, India), I once made a cross-country trip with my classmates. We were accompanied by one of our most lovable instructors, Cyril Alexander Furtado, a short, balding fellow, a recent graduate himself.

As we got together to celebrate new year's eve in Goa, India, someone asked him to describe his students -- some 18 of us who formed that small computer science group. His perceptive comments were a delight as he depicted us as he saw us. His observations brought us many a chuckle and a few of his words have stayed with me since. As he talked about a quiet, diminutive fellow among us, he noted: It takes all kinds to make this world, but it's the good that sustain in the end.

Yes, indeed, it takes all kinds of people, and five words for this week are a sampling in that spirit.

"Dozes off at the right moment," were his words about me - perhaps an apt reflection of my inability to endure any "dull" lectures.


Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate. -Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, and musician (1875-1965)

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