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Feb 11, 2022
This week’s theme
There’s a word for it

This week’s words
cacoethes
refoulement
memetic
bimarian
graphomania

graphomania
A page from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, a polymath and graphomaniac
Image: Wikimedia Commons

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Next week’s theme
Mythological characters who have resulted in multiple eponyms
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

graphomania

PRONUNCIATION:
(graf-oh-MAY-nee-uh)

MEANING:
noun: An obsessive inclination to write.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek grapho- (writing) + -mania (obsession). Earliest documented use: 1827.

NOTES:
Are you afflicted with graphomania? You are in good company. Leonardo da Vinci filled thousands of pages of his notebooks. Just 72 of those pages were bought by Bill Gates in 1994 for what would be 58 million in today’s dollars. Do you carry a notebook and pen with you at all times? Do you wake up in the middle of the night to write? How bad is it? Is your graphomania limited to being unable to resist writing on a bathroom wall? No matter what kind, tell us about it at words@wordsmith.org or share below. Meanwhile, check out this poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.: Cacoethes Scribendi.

USAGE:
“He was one of the least prolific painters of his era. In 40 years, he completed, at most, 15 paintings and left much work -- including the ‘Mona Lisa’ -- deliberately unfinished. In contrast, a kind of graphomania seemed to seize him. By some counts, the notebooks run to 16,000 pages -- only a fraction of which have been viewed.”
Parul Sehgal; What Made Leonardo Such a Great Artist? Science, Says A New Book; The New York Times; Dec 14, 2020.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy -- sun, wind, and tide. ... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. -Thomas Edison, inventor (11 Feb 1847-1931) [See this discussion.]

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