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Sep 23, 2019
This week’s theme
Random words

This week’s words
hebetic
eventide
cacophony
indefeasible
contumacy

Previous week’s theme
Shakespearean insults
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

If you ever find yourself feeling hopeless, feeling what you do is futile, feeling you are just a cog in the system, pick up a deck of cards and shuffle it.

There! You produced something that was unique in the history of the universe and chances are it would never be repeated ever. You arranged those cards in a sequence that happened for the first and last time.

Welcome to the power of combinatorics. There are so many ways those 52 cards can be arranged (about 80 unvigintillion ways, roughly, the number 80 followed by 66 zeros) that your feat was a once-in-a-lifetime event. That’s once in the lifetime of the universe (about 14 billion years)! Chances are no one would ever come up with that sequence in a random shuffling of cards.

This week we have picked five words randomly. The odds of these five words appearing together has been left as an exercise to the reader.

If, for a moment, I can get back to where I started, that card example may appear frivolous, but it has a deeper point. You are special! The universe arranged atoms to make you in a way that will never happen again.

No matter how you feel, please drop us a line at any time words@wordsmith.org. We read every email we receive and reply to almost all. We believe each human being is unique and worthy and can make a positive contribution to the universe.

hebetic

PRONUNCIATION:
(hi-BET-ik)

MEANING:
adjective: Relating to or happening at puberty.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek hebe (youth). Earliest documented use: 19th c. Also see hebephrenia.

USAGE:
“How intent Io is on imitating the frenzy of the hebetic girls.”
Gene Wolfe; Latro in the Mist; Orb Books; 2003.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Very few established institutions, governments, and constitutions ... are ever destroyed by their enemies until they have been corrupted and weakened by their friends. -Walter Lippmann, journalist (23 Sep 1889-1974)

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