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May 7, 2010
This week's theme
Verbally speaking

This week's words
asseverate
scarper
imbricate
batten
vellicate

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Words derived after mythical places
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

vellicate

PRONUNCIATION:
(VEL-i-kayt)

MEANING:
verb tr., intr.:
1. To twitch or to cause to twitch.
2. To pluck, nip, irritate, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin vellicare, frequentative of vellere (to pull, pluck, or twitch).

NOTES:
The great lexicographer Samuel Johnson used this word in one of his definitions "Cough: A convulsion of the lungs, vellicated by some sharp serosity" and broke one of the premier commandments of dictionary making: don't define a word using a harder word (serosity refers to serum: watery fluid in an animal body).

USAGE:
"I have seen old folk flung to the ground by these paroxysmal and vellicating vehicles."
Paul Johnson; And Another Thing; The Spectator (London, UK); Jun 25, 2005.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
If there is a God, I don't think He would demand that anyone bow down or stand up to Him. -Rebecca West, author and journalist (1892-1983)

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