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Mar 2, 2020
This week’s theme
Tosspot words

This week’s words
canker-blossom
cure-all
wantwit
know-it-all
makepeace

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Previous week’s theme
Adverbs
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

A sawbones (surgeon) and a mountebank (quack) may be poles apart, but they have something in common. Something other than medicine.

A skinflint (miser) and a spendthrift (one who is wasteful with money) also have something in common. Something other than money.

All four words are what we call tosspot words. The word tosspot literally means a drunkard, but the word itself is an example of a tosspot word.

A tosspot is a word coined by combining a verb and a noun, but the important thing is that the noun is the object of the verb. So pickpocket is a tosspot word because a pickpocket picks pockets; repairman is not, because a repairman does not repair a man, unless you call your doctor a repairman (better to call them sawbones).

This week we’ll see five tosspot words in A.Word.A.Day. What tosspot words have you coined? Share them below or email us at words@wordsmith.org.

canker-blossom

PRONUNCIATION:
(KANGK-uhr-blos-uhm)

MEANING:
noun: One who destroys good things.

ETYMOLOGY:
From canker (to decay, infect, or corrupt), from Old English cancer (crab, tumor) + blossom (the mass of flowers on a plant). Earliest documented use: 1600, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

USAGE:
“Remember when Eric Clapton wasn’t such an frothy, knotty-pated, canker-blossom?”
Making a Mix - Sean Beirne; New Haven Register (Connecticut); Feb 3, 2006.

“Hermia: O me! (to Helena) You juggler! You canker-blossom!
You thief of love! What, have you come by night
And stol’n my love’s heart from him?”
William Shakespeare; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; 1600.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We have come to a point where it is loyalty to resist, and treason to submit. -Carl Schurz, revolutionary, statesman, and reformer (2 Mar 1829-1906)

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