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Dec 27, 2010
This week's theme
Words derived from the names of body parts

This week's words
supercilious
impugn
sinister
orchidaceous
charivari

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

There are body parts strewn all over A.Word.A.Day this week. Don't be alarmed, no violence has taken place. No crime scene here. Instead, these body parts appear as part of the word origins. Each word featured this week owes its birth to some part of the body. In particular, you'll find eyebrow, fist, hand, testicle, and head lurking beneath the layers of the histories of this week's words.

supercilious

PRONUNCIATION:
(soo-puhr-SIL-ee-uhs)

MEANING:
adjective: Showing haughty disdain.

ETYMOLOGY:
The word alludes to someone being disdainful by raising an eyebrow. It's derived from Latin supercilium (eyebrow, pride), from super (above) + cilium (eyelid). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kel- (to cover, conceal, or save) that is also the source of hollow, hole, holster, hell, apocalypse, and eucalyptus. Earliest documented use: 1528.

USAGE:
"I'm all for 'moving on' from the two world wars, obviously. But I'm not quite so keen to 'move on' from the cocky, supercilious, haughty, and dismissive view of our great nation."
Piers Morgan: Achtung, Franz!; The Daily Mail (London, UK); Jun 27, 2010.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)

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