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Today's Word



Jul 10, 2017
This week’s theme
Short words

This week’s words

'eke out' cartoon
Cartoon: Terry Colon

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with Anu Garg

A company called CyberHound was blocking our email because it claimed the message included a “spam URL”. So I decided to reach out via their Contact Us form. After I filled it out and pressed the submit button, the form complained that I needed to enter a minimum of five letters for my first name.

Never met anyone named John? I wondered. Well, since the field was labeled First Names, I just entered my name twice -- AnuAnu -- and pressed the submit button again. This time it suggested that the last name also be a minimum of five letters. (screenshot)

At this point I gave up. Well, Procrustes is alive and well. I figured even if my message reaches them, they might write back to confirm that my height is a minimum of five feet, my hands have a minimum of five digits each, and I chew a minimum of five times.

Unlike some corporations out there, we don’t discriminate against short names. Or short words. In fact, we’ll take this week to highlight them.

PS: Their CEO is named John and the Head of Products is Adam.



verb tr.: To earn a living, to supplement, or to make something last with great effort. (usually used in the phrase “to eke out”)
adverb: Also.

For verb: From Old English ecan (increase). Ultimately from the Indo-European root aug- (increase), which also gave us auction, author, auctorial authorize, inaugurate, augment, august, auxiliary, nickname (“a nickname” is a splitting of the earlier “an ekename”, literally, an additional name), and wax (the verb). Earliest documented use: 888.
For adverb: From Old English éac. Earliest documented use: 700.

“It was hard enough eking out the time for illustrations and storyboards while the baby was napping.”
Maureen Child; Have Baby, Need Billionaire; Silhouette; 2011.

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

Reading is sometimes an ingenious device for avoiding thought. -Arthur Helps, writer (10 Jul 1813-1875)

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