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May 25, 2020
This week’s theme
What the h...

This week’s words

Previous week’s theme
Which came first: the noun or the verb?
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with Anu Garg

After I responded to a reader complaining about a picture of two women in wedding dresses, I wondered...

When my neighbors help themselves to French fries, does it hinder my right to enjoy a kale salad? Should I complain, protest, or call my representatives in Washington to make it illegal to enjoy the fries?

Does my argument become any stronger if my favorite Book says so?
“Kale salad is the way. French fries are an abomination.” (Victuals 3:14)

No matter how sincerely I believe in what I believe, do my sincerely-held beliefs give me a right to tell others what to eat? Do I really follow my favorite Book I claim to follow when I pick and choose which verses to follow. It also says “Thou shall not consume anything out of a paper vessel,” but, hey, it’s just convenient to eat out of the paper cup from the drive-thru.

Does it make me any better, any more compassionate, if I say it’s OK to like French fries but not to actually consume them?

Does it matter if the majority of people in my neighborhood, in my state, or even in the whole country, like a kale salad?

Food for thought.*

Whether your food habits are the same as mine, (Greek homo- “same”) or different (Greek hetero- “different”), I hope you enjoy this week’s selection of words formed by these two prefixes.

Share your thoughts below or email us at words@wordsmith.org.

*Yes, it’s possible to like them both, but that’s left as an exercise for the reader.



adjective: Having many different colors.

From Greek hetero- (different) + chrom- (color). Earliest documented use: 1895.

“Emma’s heterochromatic eyes -- one brown and one nearly black -- shone with excitement.”
Sonali Dev; Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors; William Morrow; 2019.

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common -- this is my symphony. -William Henry Channing, clergyman and reformer (25 May 1810-1884)

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