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Oct 19, 2020
This week’s theme
Words that appear to be coined after presidential candidates

This week’s words
bident
trumpery
pensive
devi
joe

bident
A mosaic in Sicily (detail), c. 300 AD
Image: Jerzy Strzelecki / Wikimedia

Previous week’s theme
Words about words and language
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

The Serenity Prayer, written by Reinhold Niebuhr, goes:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Every four years, God, or at least the US Constitution, grants Americans the power to change the things they can. I’m talking about presidents. We get the power to change a president and undo errors of the past. May we have the wisdom to actually use that power in the elections two weeks from now.

Meanwhile, this week we’ll see five words that appear to be coined after presidential candidates, but aren’t.

bident

PRONUNCIATION:
(BY-duhnt)

MEANING:
noun: A two-pronged instrument, weapon, implement, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin bidens (two-pronged), from bi- (two) + dens (tooth). Earliest documented use: 1675.

USAGE:
“I landed on the nearest demon, knocking him down while ramming both ends of my bone weapon through his eyes. ... I yanked the bident out and immediately flew up, leaving the other demon to smack into the wall.”
Jeaniene Frost; Wicked Bite; Avon; 2020.

“During this tight match ... Aaron Boretos cheered on his team by shaking his bident.”
John Cannon; It Was All a Blur; McClatchy-Tribune Business News (Washington, DC); Jan 15, 2010.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Life is mostly froth and bubble, / Two things stand like stone, / Kindness in another's trouble, / Courage in your own. -Adam Lindsay Gordon, poet (19 Oct 1833-1870)

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