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Jun 17, 2024
This week’s theme
Kangaroo words

This week’s words
balsam

balsam
Illustration: Anu Garg + AI

Previous week’s theme
Misc words
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

What comes to mind when you think of kangaroos? Chances are it’s their leaping. This week we’re thinking of them because of the way kangaroos carry baby kangaroos in their pouches.

Kangaroo words carry tiny synonyms of themselves within them. Consider the word charisma which has charm in it, matches has mates in it, and regulates has rules.

Two rules to kangaroo words:
The letters of the joey word should be in order.
But all the letters can’t be in a sequence. Curtail/cut is ok. Enjoy/joy is not.

Can you identify joeys in this week’s kangaroo words?

balsam

PRONUNCIATION:
(BAWL-suhm)

MEANING:
noun
1. Something that soothes or heals.
2. An aromatic resinous substance from certain trees and plants.
3. A preparation, for example an ointment, made with such a substance.
4. Such a tree or a plant.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin balsamum, from Greek balsamon, of Semitic origin. Earliest documented use: before 1150.

USAGE:
“It’s a book [Lifelines for Caregivers] specially made for caregivers, but a balsam to the soul of any human being who has ever felt overwhelmed by life.”
Valerie Zehl; Book Puts Caregivers on Solid Foundation; Press & Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, New York); Apr 2, 2006.

“It’s balsam to the ear after so much wobbling from other singers.”
Donald R. Vroon; Richard Wagner; American Record Guide (Washington, DC); Jul/Aug 2021.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Silence will save me from being wrong (and foolish), but it will also deprive me of the possibility of being right. -Igor Stravinsky, composer (17 Jun 1882-1971)

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