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Today's Word



Apr 27, 2023
This week’s theme

This week’s words

“I'm uncomfortable with the new assisted suicide law.”
“Apologies. Your comfort is my number one priority.”
Cartoon: Drew Sheneman

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with Anu Garg


(yoo-thuh-NAY-zhuh, -zhee-uh)

noun: The practice of ending life to relieve suffering. Example: someone hopelessly injured, terminally ill, suffering from an incurable disease, etc.

From Greek eu- (good) + thanatos (death). Earliest documented use: 1646. Two related words are thanatopsis and thanatophobia.

The A.Word.A.Day mailing starts at midnight, continues for about five hours, and by early morning it’s in readers’ mailboxes, ready for them to enjoy with their morning coffee or tea (or afternoon or evening, depending on their time zones). Then we begin receiving readers’ comments. We also receive hundreds of auto-replies.

The auto-replies come if a reader is sick or traveling. On New Year’s Day an auto-reply came from a reader who was both, in a manner of speaking:

Thank you for your email. It is January 1, 2023 and I am planning my death with dignity for January 2, 2023. I have had a rewarding life and I love everyone who has been a part of it. Remember me with joy.

It was from a reader who was also a writer: the novelist Cai Emmons from Eugene, Oregon (more here).

When we lose a reader it feels like losing a friend or a family member, but this one made me even more reflective, especially on New Year’s Day. But Cai Emmons lived on her own terms, made her own choices, and I hope some day people anywhere in the world are able to make decisions about their lives.

“Belgium has become the first nation to legalise euthanasia for children of any age. Other countries need to face the issue too.”
Rachel Nuwer; The World Needs to Talk About Child Euthanasia; New Scientist (London, UK); Feb 24, 2014.

“‘What are your feelings on euthanasia?’
Miss Arkansas blinked her false eyelashes up and down a few times before she began her carefully modulated response:
‘I was raised with the belief that people the world over deserve the same respect, care, and consideration as the people in the United States. We are all one big family of humans, no matter where we hail from. As such, I believe we must respect and care and give consideration to the youth everywhere including the youth in Asia.’”
Gemma Halliday; Deadly in High Heels; CreateSpace; 2015.

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

Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison. -Mary Wollstonecraft, reformer and writer (27 Apr 1759-1797)

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