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Apr 8, 2019
This week’s theme
Words related to bones

This week’s words
bred-in-the-bone
ossify
bonehead
Jell-O
bareboned

“All words are pegs to hang ideas on.” ~Beecher
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Here’s a pop quiz. Sawbones, jawbone, trombone, and bonfire -- which is the odd one out?

It’s trombone.

Both sawbones and jawbone are clearly bony. A bonfire is, literally speaking, a fire of bones. But trombone, well, no bones there. It’s from Italian tromba (trumpet) + -one (big).

A trombone apparently works fine, but without bones we would all slump to the floor. No wonder, our language is filled with bones. We are encouraged to have a backbone or strength of character. To feel in one’s bones is to feel intuitively. To have a bone to pick with someone is to have a reason to discuss a disagreement with someone.

Well, we’ll make no bones about it -- all of this week’s words are connected with bones. Bone up!

bred-in-the-bone

PRONUNCIATION:
(bred-in-thuh-BOHN)

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Deep-rooted.
2. Habitual; inveterate.

ETYMOLOGY:
From the old proverb “What is bred in the bone will not come out of the flesh”, implying something deep-rooted cannot be removed. Also recorded in the form “What is bred in the bone will come out in the flesh”, meaning deeply ingrained traits will ultimately reveal themselves. Earliest documented use: 1470.

USAGE:
“Her bred-in-the-bone positivity has left its mark on her son.”
Ruth La Ferla; That Model in the Ad? She’s Mom; The New York Times; Jan 17, 2019.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Good fiction creates empathy. A novel takes you somewhere and asks you to look through the eyes of another person, to live another life. -Barbara Kingsolver, novelist, essayist, and poet (b. 8 Apr 1955)

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