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A.Word.A.Day--teetotum

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

This week's theme: odd-looking words.

teetotum (tee-TO-tuhm) noun

A spinning top.

[From T-totum. Originally a teetotum was a kind of die used in a game of chance. It had a stick put through a six-sided die so that only four sides could be used. One of the sides had the letter T representing Latin totum (all), implying take the whole stake from the pot. Other sides had letters A aufer (take one stake from the pot), D depone (put one stake), and N nihil (do nothing). A dreidel is a form of teetotum.]

See a picture of a teetotum.

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

-Anu Garg (garg wordsmith.org)

"In 1890s London, George Bernard Shaw's music reviews frequently took ballet to task. How weary he was of illogical plots and the empty virtuosity of what he referred to as 'teetotum spins'." Deborah Jowitt; Nothing Left to Lose; The Village Voice (New York); Jan 18, 2000.

X-Bonus

Evil is like a shadow - it has no real substance of its own, it is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it. -Shakti Gawain, teacher and author (1948- )

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