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Jun 11, 2012
This week's theme
Verbs

This week's words
ratiocinate
redound
daunt
exculpate
perdure

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

In English the verb goes in the middle of a sentence (I love you), while some languages relegate it to the end (I you love). This may sound preposterous to those not familiar with such a language (Hindi, Japanese, among others), but it's quite common.

In fact, the largest percentage of languages prefer the verb at the end (45%), followed by the middle placement (43%). The remaining 12% of the languages stick the verb out front (Fijian, Irish, etc.).

Like much in a language, there is no particular reason behind these varied placements. A front placement for a verb doesn't imply that speakers of that language give more importance to the action compared to those who put it at the end. Sometimes things just are.

But wherever the verb sits, it brings life to a sentence. And this week we'll bring five verbs to life in A.Word.A.Day.

ratiocinate

PRONUNCIATION:
(rash-ee-OS-uh-nayt, rat-ee-)

MEANING:
verb intr.: To reason, especially in a methodical manner.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin ratiocinari (to reckon), from ratio (reason, calculation). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ar- (to fit together), which also gave us army, harmony, article, order, read, adorn, arithmetic, and rhyme. Earliest documented use: 1643.

USAGE:
"But we're here to see Downey [playing Sherlock Holmes] ratiocinate his way in and around the movie."
Ty Burr; Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes; The Boston Globe; Dec 25, 2009.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
May my silences become more accurate. -Theodore Roethke, poet (1908-1963)

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