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Dec 19, 2016
This week’s theme
Words that keep glowing even with a burnt-out letter

This week’s words
platitudinarian
orotund
suberous
parable
dubiety

Seattle Lighting store sign
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

The other day, I saw this sign in front of a store. It’s supposed to read “Seattle Lighting”. It was ironic that a lighting store had its lights burned out, but it prompted another thought.

What words are there that form another word when one letter is burned out, say an initial? The word “there” does it particularly well: there ⇨ here ⇨ ere ⇨ re. But there’s no there there -- we want more interesting words.

This week we’ll look at five unusual words, each of which yields another unusual word when its first letter goes dark. Think of these words as holiday lighting that still glows even when one of its bulbs goes out.

platitudinarian

PRONUNCIATION:
(plat-i-tood-n-AR-ee-uhn, -tyood-)

MEANING:
noun: One who utters platitudes or trite remarks.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French plat (flat). Ultimately from the Indo-European root plat- (to spread), which is also the root of flat, to flatter, plan, plant, plantain, plateau, plaza, platinum, supplant, and transplant. Earliest documented use: 1854.
Remove the initial letter and you get latitudinarian.

USAGE:
“Her successor, Livingston Biddle, was a platitudinarian, who to this day likes to expatiate on his slogan that ‘the arts mean excellence’; one need only listen to him for two minutes to cease believing in art and excellence both.”
Joseph Epstein; What to Do About the Arts; Commentary; Apr 1995.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
You must protest / It is your diamond duty / Ah but in such an ugly time the true protest is beauty. -Phil Ochs, folksinger (19 Dec 1940-1976)

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