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Feb 12, 2016
This week’s theme
Eponyms (words coined after people)

This week’s words
maecenas
guy
victorian
gongorism
Addisonian

Joseph Addison
Joseph Addison
Art: Godfrey Kneller

This week’s comments
AWADmail 711

Next week’s theme
Words formed in error
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Addisonian

PRONUNCIATION:
(ad-uh-SO-nee-uhn)

MEANING:
adjective: Having clarity and elegance.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Joseph Addison (1672-1719), English essayist and poet. Earliest documented use: 1789.

NOTES:
Some aphorisms by Addison:
  • What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.
  • Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
  • Content thyself to be obscurely good. When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, the post of honor is a private station.

USAGE:
“Murray Kempton enjoyed being in a group of reporters; he liked to try out ideas for columns, dropping fully formed Addisonian sentences into conversation to see which ones got a nod or a laugh. The winners turned up in the next day’s paper.”
David Von Drehle; A Journalist’s Singular Voice; The Washington Post; May 6, 1997.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. -Charles Darwin, naturalist and author (12 Feb 1809-1882)

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