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Mar 15, 2011
This week's theme
Seventeen-letter words to mark Wordsmith.org's septendecennial

This week's words
predestinarianism
triskaidekaphobia
contradistinguish
laryngopharyngeal
perspicaciousness

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

triskaidekaphobia

PRONUNCIATION:
(tris-ky-dek-uh-FO-bee-uh)

MEANING:
noun: Fear of the number 13.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek treiskaideka (thirteen), from treis (three) + kai (and) + deka (ten) + phobia (fear). Earliest documented use: 1911.

NOTES:
Why do some people fear the number 13? It's one more than a dozen, which leaves out an unlucky one if you divide something in groups of two, three, four, or six. It's also said that there were 13 people in the Last Supper. Friday the 13th is considered especially unlucky by many, while in some cultures, in the Spanish-speaking world, for example, it's Tuesday the 13th that is believed to be unlucky.

USAGE:
"Chowrasia probably suffering from triskaidekaphobia bungled on the 13th and allowed Harmeet to get a firm grip on the title."
Harmeet Takes Trophy; The Hindu (Chennai, India); Dec 23, 2006.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I live in the world rather as a spectator of mankind than as one of the species. -Joseph Addison, essayist and poet (1672-1719)

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