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Oct 25, 2010
This week's theme
Words made with combining forms

This week's words
ventriloquism
posology
onomancy
hagiolatry
misogamy

ventriloquist Paul Zerdin
Video: Paul Zerdin, Ventriloquist

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

A recent issue of Reader's Digest magazine featured this story:

While doing a crossword puzzle, I asked for my husband's help.
"The word is eight letters long and starts with m, and the clue is 'tiresome sameness'."
"Monogamy," he answered.
-Donna-Van Note

Well, we can't help much with the tiresome sameness of monogamy, but here at Wordsmith.org we do try our best to alleviate the monotony of having to use the same words over and over again.

Here's a week of words made with various combining forms to expand your verbal repertoire. Feel free to mix and match them; try various combinations and permutations to bring a little variety, a little zest, to your lingo. The combining forms we are using this week are:
ventr- (belly), poso- (what quantity), onoma- (name), hagio- (holy), miso- (hate)
-logy (study), -mancy (divination), -latry (worship), and -gamy (marriage).

ventriloquism

PRONUNCIATION:
(ven-TRIL-uh-kwiz-uhm)

MEANING:
noun:
1. The art or practice of speaking without moving lips so that the voice seems to be coming from somewhere else.
2. The expression of one's views through another person, used as a literary technique.

ETYMOLOGY:
Literally speaking, ventriloquism is speaking from the stomach, from the former belief that the voice was produced from the ventriloquist's belly. The word is derived from Latin ventriloquus (ventriloquist), from ventr- (belly) + loqui (to speak). Earliest recorded use: 1797.

USAGE:
"'In recreating his mother as a resourceful and often hilarious character Walters's sustained act of literary ventriloquism captures the ingenuity and passion of the diasporic narrative in Canadian cultural history,' the jurors said in a statement."
Immigrant Tale Wins $10K Creative Non-Fiction Prize; CBC News (Toronto, Canada); Oct 13, 2010.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves. -Gene Fowler, journalist and author (1890-1960)

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