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Nov 19, 2013
This week's theme
Words coined after flowers

This week's words
lotus-eater
primrose path
lily-livered
sub rosa
amaranthine

primrose
Photo: Ian A Kirk

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

primrose path

PRONUNCIATION:
(PRIM-rohz PATH)

MEANING:
noun:
1. An easy life, especially devoted to sensual pleasure.
2. A path of least resistance, especially one that ends in disaster.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin prima rosa (first rose). Earliest documented use: 1604.

NOTES:
It's not clear why primrose was picked for naming this metaphorical path. Perhaps Shakespeare chose the word for alliteration -- the word is first attested in his Hamlet where Ophelia says to her brother Laertes:
"Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whilst, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede." [Heeds not his own counsel.]

USAGE:
"Meanwhile, Katich clung on; the primrose path is not for him. The road is strewn with rocks."
Peter Roebuck; Victory in Sight, But Punter's Job Far From Over; The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia); Oct 5, 2010.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? -Abraham Lincoln, 16th US president (1809-1865)

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