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Apr 22, 2009
This week's theme
There is a word for it

This week's words
perendinate
moirologist
prosopagnosia
xanthodontous
borborygmus

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

prosopagnosia

PRONUNCIATION:
(pros-uh-pag-NO-see-uh)

MEANING:
noun: Inability to recognize familiar faces.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek prosopon (face, mask), from pros- (near) + opon (face), from ops (eye) + agnosia (ignorance). Ultimately from the Indo-European root gno- (to know) that is also the source of know, recognize, acquaint, ignore, diagnosis, notice, and normal.

NOTES:
Prosopagnosia is also known as face blindness, usually a result of brain injury. People suffering from it cannot recognize familiar faces, even their own. A book on this and related topics is neurologist Oliver Sacks's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.
Prosopagnosiacs' motto: We don't take people at face value.

USAGE:
"Rob Cross, 25, acquired prosopagnosia four years ago when a virus attacked his brain. For years, he has hidden his condition by avoiding calling his co-workers at a Burnaby manufacturing company by name, or acting slightly aloof. 'Every morning people say, "Hi Rob," and the majority of the time I don't know who it is,' said Mr. Cross."
Hayley Mick; We Know Each Other, But Who Are You?; Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada); Jan 10, 2008.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
When a nation gives birth to a man who is able to produce a great thought, another is born who is able to understand and admire it. -Joseph Joubert, essayist (1754-1824)

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