PRONUNCIATION: (shuh-her-uh-ZAHD, -ZAH-duh, -dee)

MEANING: noun: A storyteller, especially one who tells long, entertaining stories.

ETYMOLOGY: After Scheherezade, the wife of a king in One Thousand and One Nights. Earliest documented use: 1851.

NOTES: In One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of stories from the Middle East, the king Shahryar discovers his wife being unfaithful. He learns that his brother’s wife is unfaithful as well. He kills his wife and decides to take revenge on all women by marrying a virgin every day and having her executed the next morning so she never gets an opportunity to cheat. One day it’s the turn of Scheherezade, the vizier’s daughter, to be the bride. She asks the king if she could say farewell to her sister Dunyazad first. The king agrees and the sister, who has been prepared in advance, asks Scheherezade to tell a story. The story is engrossing and the king is awake listening. Scheherezade stops the story just before dawn saying there’s no time left to finish. The king spares her life to find out what happened. The next night she finishes the story and starts another, even more captivating story. And so it goes for 1001 nights and by that time the king has fallen in love with her beauty and intelligence and makes her the queen.

Sheherazade is the patron saint of television script writers, who decide just where to put commercial breaks in a TV show.

SCHEHERANADE - what drunken Romeo sang to Juliet on her balcony

SCHNEE-RAZADE - a particularly beautiful ski excursion in the Bavarian Alps

SHE/HE A ZADIE - the father's biological gender was never conclusively proved