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May 12, 2011
This week's theme
There is a word for it

This week's words
anomia
poetaster
subitize
philtrum
mysophobia

Philtrum pierced
Philtrum pierced
Photo: Ruben Glew

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

philtrum

PRONUNCIATION:
(FIL-truhm)

MEANING:
noun: The vertical groove below the nose and above the upper lip.

NOTES:
The line of the upper lip is known as Cupid's bow for its resemblance to the shape of a bow. While the ancients thought the groove above the upper lip had something to do with love, modern doctors have found that a smooth philtrum is one of the signs of fetal alcohol syndrome.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin philtrum (love potion, groove under the nose), from Greek philtron (love potion, groove under the nose). Earliest documented use: 1609.

USAGE:
"John Ryan Fitzpatrick flexed his index finger under his nose and across his philtrum."
Jeff Hicks; Troubles at The Glen; Waterloo Region Record (Canada); Aug 7, 2010.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
What a pitiable thing it is that our civilization can do no better for us than to make us slaves to indoor life, so that we have to go and take artificial exercise in order to preserve our health. -George Wharton James, journalist, author, and speaker (1858-1923)

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