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Aug 14, 2020
This week’s theme
Characters related to slavery who have become words in the English language

This week’s words
Jim Crow
Simon Legree
Uncle Tom
topsy
Aunt Tom

This week’s comments
AWADmail 946

Next week’s theme
The epidemic in five words
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Aunt Tom

PRONUNCIATION:
(ant tom)

MEANING:
noun: A woman considered to be a traitor to a cause.

ETYMOLOGY:
Coined as a feminine version of Uncle Tom. Earliest documented use: 1956.

NOTES:
There’s no such character as Aunt Tom in the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Uncle Tom’s wife is actually named Chloe. The term Aunt Jemima is also used sometimes as a synonym for Aunt Tom. The term could be derogatory and offensive, applied to a Black woman who is seen as servile to White people.

USAGE:
“When [Phyllis] Schlafly suggested the reason there were so few women in Congress was that they weren’t willing to do the work to win elections and were more interested in having babies, [Betty] Friedan fired back by calling her ‘a traitor to your sex, an Aunt Tom’.”
Meredith Blake; How Accurate Is ‘Mrs. America’s’ Depiction of Betty Friedan? We Checked; Los Angeles Times; Apr 24, 2020.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The beginnings and endings of all human undertakings are untidy. -John Galsworthy, author, Nobel laureate (14 Aug 1867-1933)

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