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Jul 8, 2013
This week's theme
Words from poker

This week's words
poker-faced
four-flush
penny-ante
standpat
blue chip

poker-faced
Poker Face

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Summer is here (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). The heat expands everything and days are no exception. Long days ask for something to fill the time and if you have a small pack of playing cards in your pocket you can stay entertained for the rest of eternity. Each time you shuffle a deck, you've possibly created an arrangement never before seen in human history (details).

The popularity of playing cards has spilled over into the language. The English language is filled with metaphors having to do with card games.

One can stack the deck (to cheat or manipulate) or play one's cards right (to act sensibly or cautiously). Some folks put their cards on the table (to be straightforward and open), some don't play with a full deck (to be insane or irrational), but ultimately, we all have to play the hand we're dealt.

There are probably as many card games as the number of ways to arrange a deck, but this week we'll see terms that have come out from just one card game: poker.

poker-faced

PRONUNCIATION:
(PO-kuhr fayst)

MEANING:
adjective: Having an expressionless face, giving no hints of one's thoughts and feelings.

ETYMOLOGY:
From the necessity of not showing emotions in a game of poker to avoid giving other players an indication of the strength of one's hand. The origin of the term poker is uncertain. It may be from French poque (a similar card game that involves bluffing), from German pochen (to knock, brag). Earliest documented use: 1915 (for the word poker: 1832).

USAGE:
"Sonam Kapoor appears poker-faced in a few scenes when she is supposed to look romantic."
Unexpected Spunky Romance; The Himalayan Times (Kathmandu, Nepal); Jun 21, 2013.

See more usage examples of poker-faced in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. -Susan Sontag, author and critic (1933-2004)

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