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Sep 9, 2019
This week’s theme
There’s an antonym for it

This week’s words
eustress
nullibiety
excarnation
dysphemism
nocebo

eustress
Illustration: Tomi Dufva

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

There’s matter and there’s anti-matter. Something similar works with words too. There are words and there are their opposites: if there’s utopia there’s dystopia too. It’s just that sometimes the opposite is not as popular, even though it’s a perfectly fine, upstanding citizen of the dictionary.

In this week’s parade of words we bring such antonyms to the front.

eustress

PRONUNCIATION:
(YOO-stres)

MEANING:
noun: A positive, beneficial form of stress.

ETYMOLOGY:
Coined by the endocrinologist Hans Selye (1907-1982). From Greek eu- (good) + stress, from shortening of distress or from Old French estressei (narrowness or oppression), from Latin strictus, from stringere (to bind tight). Earliest documented use: 1950s.

NOTES:
Eustress is happy stress. Some examples of eustress are excitement at starting a new job, an upcoming wedding, etc. In general, mild stress works as eustress, bringing motivation and spurring action. Too much stress results in distress.

USAGE:
“Ann was mired ankle-deep in eustress. If she pulled one foot out of its boot, where would she put that foot while she pulled the other foot to freedom?”
Elizabeth Schaeffer; The Skein; Trafford; 2012.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth. -Leo Tolstoy, novelist and philosopher (9 Sep 1828-1910)

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