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Jan 21, 2019
This week’s theme
Well-traveled words

This week’s words
aubade
prosopography
kurbash
postiche
safari

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

You probably stop by your neighborhood grocery store to buy a pound of sugar and don’t think twice about it, but that sweet white sand has traveled a lot of miles to dulcify your lemonade or tea.

The word started out from Sanskrit sarkara. Persians came to India for other reasons, but developed a sweet tooth and took the word back as shakar. It became sukkar in Arabic, zucchero in Italian, zuccarum in Latin, sucre in French, before spilling into English as sugar.

People travel. Words travel. People settle in new lands and so do words. Did I hear someone say they wanted to make walls, close off people from one another? Here’s to more travel, more mixing, more migration, more import and export, and more sweetness in our lives!

This week we’ll feature five words that have traveled far and wide among languages before reaching the English language.

aubade

PRONUNCIATION:
(O-bahd)

MEANING:
noun: Morning song, poem, or music.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French aubade (dawn serenade), from Spanish albada (aubade), from Latin albus (white). Ultimately from the Indo-European root albho- (white), which is also the source of oaf, albino, album, albumen, elflock, and albedo. Earliest documented use: 1678.

USAGE:
“Lovers heard the stern aubade -- the watchman on the tower: ‘Up! Thou rascal, rise, I see the dawning light; the night doth fly.’”
Peter James Merrington; Zebra Crossings; Jacana; 2008.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Walking is also an ambulation of mind. -Gretel Ehrlich, novelist, poet, and essayist (b. 21 Jan 1946)

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