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Jun 20, 2019
This week’s theme
People with multiple eponyms coined after them

This week’s words
Socratic irony
Midas-eared
philippize
hermeneutic
achillize

hermeneutic
Hermes
Roman copy after a Greek original
Photo: Jastrow/Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

hermeneutic

PRONUNCIATION:
(hur-muh-NOO/NYOO-tik)

MEANING:
adjective: Interpretive or explanatory.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek hermeneutikos (of interpreting), from hermeneuein (to interpret), from hermeneus (interpreter). After Hermes in Greek mythology, who served as a messenger and herald for other gods, and who himself was the god of eloquence, commerce, invention, cunning, theft, and more. Earliest documented use: 1678..
Other words that Hermes has given us are hermaphrodite, hermetic, and herm.

USAGE:
“Sandra’s descent into madness, in ‘The Unmapped Country’ (1973), takes the form of a hermeneutic disease, whereby everything -- even birdsong or ‘the placing of twigs and leaves’ in a park -- is construed as a cosmic message.”
Andrew Gallix; The Unmapped Country; The Guardian (London, UK); Jan 12, 2018.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Since when do we have to agree with people to defend them from injustice? -Lillian Hellman, playwright (20 Jun 1905-1984)

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