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Aug 9, 2021
This week’s theme
Words that look one part of speech but are other

This week’s words
constitutional
commensurate
dialectic
curtal
niddering

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

Archaic, algebraic, prosaic ... they are all adjectives. But then we have the word mosaic that looks like an adjective, but is a noun.*

The words lyric, serial, and testimonial look like adjectives, are adjectives, but also nouns.

A word ending in -ly -- happily, hopefully, really -- is typically an adverb. But not always, it’s easy to find an anomaly (or two) in this pattern.

This week we’ll feature five words that may look like one part of speech, but will surprise you.

*Though the word does have an adjectival form:
  Mosaic: Relating to Moses.

constitutional

PRONUNCIATION:
(kon-sti-TOO/TYOO-shuh-nuhl)

MEANING:
noun:A walk taken for one’s health.
adj.:1. Relating to the constitution, a set of principles governing a state, organization, etc.
 2. Relating to someone’s physical or mental condition.
 3. Relating to the fundamental makeup of something or someone; essential.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin con- (together) + statuere (to set up). Earliest documented use: 1682.

NOTES:
You can take a one-syllable walk or you can take a five-syllable constitutional. According to the latest research, a constitutional gives you the same benefits as a walk with a 10-lb. weight in each hand.

What other words can you coin like this? Share them below or email us at words@wordsmith.org. Here’s one to get you started: Instead of taking a one-syllable nap, take a multi-syllable morphelogical (after Morpheus, the god of dreams in Greek mythology). See if that doesn’t turn your nap into a power-nap.

At any rate, get your “constitutional” money’s worth by putting this word’s both parts of speech to use with The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia.

USAGE:
“‘So, tell me, what is on your agenda for today?’
‘Well, we need to visit the laundry, and then I was going to take my daily constitutional, maybe take lunch, then indulge in a hot bath.’”
Monica Wright; Bridal Veil; iUniverse; 2014.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
What magical trick makes us intelligent? The trick is that there is no trick. The power of intelligence stems from our vast diversity, not from any single, perfect principle. -Marvin Minsky, scientist and author (9 Aug 1927-2016)

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