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Dec 24, 2003
This week's theme
Words to describe people

This week's words
sansculotte
oleaginous
rebarbative
debonair
ninnyhammer

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

rebarbative

Pronunciation RealAudio

rebarbative (ree-BAHR-buh-tiv) adjective

Irritating; repellent.

[From French rebarbative (offputting), feminine form of rebarbatif, from rebarber (to be repellent), from barbe (beard), from Latin barba (beard).]

Are bearded people irritating? While some find a beard on a man attractive, literally speaking it could be like barbed wire - repelling - for others. In fact, the words barb, barber, and beard are derived from the same root as today's word.

"From cosy Whitelaw to rebarbative Ingham, there are now over a dozen versions of the Thatcher decade by Thatcher's servants."
Catherine Bennett; Tales From the Book Cabinet; The Guardian (London, UK); Oct 1, 1993.

"As Nixon and the boy who would one day become his rebarbative five o'clock shadow both understood, football is simply war by other means."
Bruce Newman; Oliver Stone Goes to War Again, With Cleats On; The New York Times; Nov 14, 1999.

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When nations grow old, the arts grow cold and commerce settles on every tree. -William Blake, poet, engraver, and painter (1757-1827)

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