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Oct 20, 2014
This week's theme
Words formed by metathesis (a transposition of sounds)

This week's words
mullion
sprattle

mullion
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

If you have ever found yourself saying cavalry when you meant calvary or asterix when you meant asterisk, don't let it bother you too much. It proves only one thing: you are human.

We all make such transposition errors from time to time. Most of these errors are ignored in the flow of time, but there are instances when these mispronunciations become standard. The word we know as tusk was originally tux. And it happens in other languages as well. The French fromage (cheese) is an alteration of formage (forming). Spanish palabra (word) was formed from Latin parabola.

This week we'll see five words that have their spellings changed owing to mispronunciation, a process known as metathesis.

mullion

PRONUNCIATION:
(MUHL-yuhn)

MEANING:
noun: A vertical piece of stone, wood, metal, etc., dividing a window or other opening.

ETYMOLOGY:
From transposition of sounds of Middle English moniel, from Anglo-Norman moynel, from Latin medius (middle). Ultimately from the Indo-European root medhyo- (middle), which is also the source of middle, mean, medium, medal (originally a coin worth a halfpenny), mezzanine, mediocre, Mediterranean, moiety, and Hindi madhya (middle). Earliest documented use: 1556.

USAGE:
"When it comes to hanging wall art, don't overlook the mullion bar between two windows."
Joshua Lyon; The Makeover Issue; Country Living (Pittsburgh); Sep 2013.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Readers may be divided into four classes: 1. Sponges, who absorb all that they read and return it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtied. 2. Sand-glasses, who retain nothing and are content to get through a book for the sake of getting through the time. 3. Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs of what they read. 4. Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable, who profit by what they read, and enable others to profit by it also. -Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet, critic (1772-1834)

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