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This week's theme: words for odds and ends.

gnomon (NO-mon) noun

1. The raised arm of a sundial that indicates the time of day by its shadow.
2. The remaining part of a parallelogram after a similar smaller parallelogram has been taken away from one of the corners.

[From Latin gnomon (pointer), from Greek gnomon (interpreter), from gignoskein, to know. Ultimately from the Indo-European root gno- (to know) that is also the root of knowledge, prognosis, ignore, narrate, and normal.]

"Eighty-six years in the making, one of the world's largest sundials has finally been installed at Place de la Concorde, as part of the Year 2000 festivities of the City of Paris. It takes an approach more cerebral than celebratory. The sundial's pointer, or gnomon, is the 109-foot Obelisk of Luxor. Its base is the northern half of Place de la Concorde."
Rose Marie Burke; Sundial Aids Millennium Countdown; The Wall Street Journal (New York); Oct 26, 1999.

See more usage examples of gnomon in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.


There are two things to aim at in life; first to get what you want, and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. -Logan Pearsall Smith, essayist (1865-1946)

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