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Aug 31, 2021
This week’s theme
Words with unusual pronunciations

This week’s words
blackguard
cwm
victual
gunwale
sidhe

cwm
Cirque de Navacelles, France
Zwm in to see a little town at the base
Photo: Phi-Gastrein / Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

cwm

PRONUNCIATION:
(koom)

MEANING:
noun: A steep bowl-shaped mountain basin, carved by glaciers. Also known as a cirque.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Welsh cwm (valley). Earliest documented use: 1853.

NOTES:
The letter w works as a vowel in the Welsh language and it has given us another such word (without a standard English vowel aeiou, or y): crwth (krooth) meaning crowd (an ancient Celtic stringed instrument). We have also borrowed a synonym of the word cwm from another language: cirque from French.

USAGE:
“Often, the water gathered in the cwms before overflowing to the valley below.”
Peter Bond; Exodus: Earth Fights Back; Eloquent Books; 2010.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can't eat money. -Alanis Obomsawin, filmmaker (b. 31 Aug 1932)

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