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Aug 24, 2020
This week’s theme
Words that appear to be misspellings

This week’s words
cliticize
ordonnance
settlor
exorcise
equipollent

Previous week’s theme
This pandemic in five words

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

A couple of years ago, a picture had been making the rounds of the Internet: “Kansas City welcomes 25 million visitors anally.” You’d think that when they print such a large sign they’d look at it a little more closely, and you’d be right. The picture was doctored.

If you come across any of this week’s words in the wild you might think they are fake -- someone made a typo or purposely misspelled the word -- but that’s not it. Each of these words, like any word we feature, is a bona fide part of the language, and has earned a place in the dictionary.

cliticize

PRONUNCIATION:
(KLIT-uh-syz)

MEANING:
verb tr., intr.: To attach or become attached.

ETYMOLOGY:
From clitic (an unstressed word that occurs in combination with another word), from enclitic/proclitic, from klinein (to lean), from klitos (slope). Ultimately from the Indo-European root klei- (to lean), which also gave us decline, incline, recline, lean, client, climax, ladder, heteroclite, and patrocliny. Earliest documented use: 1970s.

NOTES:
In linguistics, to cliticize is to attach a clitic to another word. What’s a clitic? An unstressed linguistic element that can’t exist on its own and is dependent on its neighbor. An example in the previous sentence is ’t in can’t”.

USAGE:
“Say anything to me and I see her face; her name and image have been cliticized, in my mind as necessary adjuncts of life, birth, breath.”
John McManus; Stop Breakin Down; Picador; 2000.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
To fall in love is to create a religion that has a fallible god. -Jorge Luis Borges, writer (24 Aug 1899-1986)

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