Wordsmith.Org


A.Word.A.Day

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ


Discuss
Email this
Feedback
RSS/XML
Permalink

A.Word.A.Day--svengali

svengali (sven-GAH-lee) noun

A person who manipulates and exercises excessive control over another for sinister purposes.

[After Svengali, a musician and hypnotist, in the novel Trilby written by George du Maurier (1834-1896). In the story, Trilby is an artist's model. She's tone-deaf, but Svengali transforms her into a singing sensation under his hypnotic spell.
Another eponym to come out of the novel is the word for a man's hat: trilby. A trilby was a soft felt hat with a narrow brim and an indented crown. The word arose because such a hat was worn in the stage production of the novel.]

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

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"'Idol' was created by Simon Fuller, the Spice Girls svengali, and first aired in England in 2001, as 'Pop Idol.'" Sasha Frere-Jones; Idolatry; The New Yorker; May 19, 2008.

X-Bonus

Speech is for the convenience of those who are hard of hearing. -Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

Subscribe:

Sign up to receive A.Word.A.Day in your mailbox every day.

"The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace."

The New York Times

Sponsored by:

Give the Gift of Words

Share the magic of words. Send a gift subscription of A.Word.A.Day.

Anu on Words:
Writer Magazine
Globe & Mail

Interact:

Bulletin board
Wordsmith Talk

Moderated Chat
Wordsmith Chat

Readers' Voice
AWADmail

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 2014 Wordsmith