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Sep 7, 2021
This week’s theme
Eponyms

This week’s words
galahad
baedeker
zephyr
janus-faced
ritz

baedeker
Baedeker’s Berlin guide
Photo: Manfred Heyde / Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Baedeker

PRONUNCIATION:
(BAY-de-kuhr)

MEANING:
noun: A guidebook.

ETYMOLOGY:
After the German publisher Karl Baedeker (1801-1859) who founded a company that published travel guidebooks. Earliest documented use: 1863.

NOTES:
The red-covered Baedekers were known for their accuracy. Karl Baedeker was meticulous about mentioning the exact number of steps to the roof of a cathedral, for example. The poet A.P. Herbert wrote in his English translation of the opera La Vie Parisienne:
Kings and governments may err
But never Mr. Baedeker.
The accuracy of the books was offset by rampant racism and misogyny. Check out this description of early Baedekers.

USAGE:
“Mr. Van Ostern’s memos, distributed to a mailing list that has grown to 30,000 people, have become the quintessential Baedeker to New Hampshire presidential politics.”
David M. Shribman; It’s Primary Season in New Hampshire. Time to Go Skiing!; The New York Times; Jan 30, 2020.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
America has been called a melting pot, but it seems better to call it a mosaic, for in it each nation, people, or race which has come to its shores has been privileged to keep its individuality, contributing at the same time its share to the unified pattern of a new nation. -King Baudouin of Belgium (7 Sep 1930-1993)

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