Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



Sep 18, 2017
This week’s theme
Words that result in another word when a single letter is prefixed

This week’s words

New Yorker cartoon: 'He tells it like it is.'
“He tells it like it is.”
Cartoon: Paul Noth/New Yorker

Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
with Anu Garg

Recently, I was in a group when the discussion turned to one’s favorite dish. A woman talked about her favorite preparation: smashed potatoes. I had never heard of it. Surely she meant “mashed potatoes”, I thought, though the mental image of a chef smashing potatoes with a hammer was funny.

Later, I googled the term and learned that there is a real dish named smashed potatoes. Tells you how much I know. Smashed potatoes and mashed potatoes are two different beasts. They have about as much in common as pomme and pomme de terre.

What a difference a letter makes. The same is true for the words this week. You can add an initial letter to them to turn them into a completely different word.



adjective: Of, relating to, or resembling, sheep.

From Latin ovis (sheep). Ultimately from the Indo-European root owi- (sheep), which also gave us ewe. Earliest documented use: 1676.

“George Bernard Shaw said that the English ‘worship their great artists indiscriminately and abjectly’ and described this phenomenon -- the uncritical ovine devotion to Shakespeare -- as ‘Bardolatry’.”
James Gingell; Rejecting the Cult of Bardolatry Does Not Make You a Philistine; The Guardian (London, UK); May 20, 2016.

See more usage examples of ovine in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (18 Sep 1709-1784)

Gift Subscription:

Share the joy of words with a friend: send a gift subscription of A.Word.A.Day or the book, a #1 Amazon.com bestseller.

Sponsored by:

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith