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Jun 2, 2009
This week's theme
Words having many unrelated meanings

This week's words
purlicue
trammel
grig
growler
gaff

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

trammel

PRONUNCIATION:
(TRAM-uhl)

MEANING:
noun:
1. Something that limits or hinders.
2. A fishing net having three layers.
3. An instrument for drawing ellipses.
4. A shackle used in training a horse to amble.
5. An instrument for gauging and aligning parts of a machine.
6. A hook for hanging a pot or a kettle over a fire.
verb tr.: To restrain; to hinder.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Old French tramail, from Latin tremaculum, from tres (three) + macula (mesh). Ultimately from the Indo-European root trei- (three) that's also the source of such words as three, testify (to be the third person: to bear witness), and triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13).

USAGE:
"John Singleton, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. spokesman, said [the ban on cigarette sales at Boston drugstores and on college campuses] does trammel on businesses' right to sell what they want to sell."
Stephen Smith; Hub Seeks More Bans on Tobacco; The Boston Globe; Sep 4, 2008.

"'Lost in Showbiz asks what constitutes a crisis?' Jonathan Blake continues, free of the trammels of punctuation."
Marina Hyde; Our High Priest of Showbiz Offers Up Some Vehicle Specs; The Guardian (London, UK); Apr 27, 2009.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It is a trick among the dishonest to offer sacrifices that are not needed, or not possible, to avoid making those that are required. -Ivan Goncharov, novelist (1812-1891)

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