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Nov 2, 2015
This week’s theme
Unusual synonyms for everyday acts

This week’s words
sternutate
eruct
flatulate
ingurgitate
nictitate

sternutate
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

What’s a synonym for the word synonym? That’s not a rhetorical question. There are, in fact, synonyms for the word synonym in the English language: poecilonym and polyonym, from Greek poecilo- (various) and poly- (many) + -onym (name).

And a synonym is not an idle curiosity. There are times when a synonym can say the same thing, but in a softer, more oblique way. Think perspire vs sweat. Think copulate or defecate vs their four-letter synonyms.

This week we’ll see five Latinate synonyms of the more direct Anglo-Saxon acts.

sternutate

PRONUNCIATION:
(stuhr-NOO-tayt, -NYOO-)

MEANING:
verb intr.: To sneeze.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin sternuere (to sneeze). Earliest documented use: 1745.

USAGE:
“He sternutated. That broke the spell.”
Avram Davidson; The Island Under the Earth; Ace; 1969.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We have probed the earth, excavated it, burned it, ripped things from it, buried things in it, chopped down its forests, leveled its hills, muddied its waters, and dirtied its air. That does not fit my definition of a good tenant. If we were here on a month-to-month basis, we would have been evicted long ago. -Rose Bird, Chief Justice of California Supreme Court (2 Nov 1936-1999)

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