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Jan 5, 2022
This week’s theme
Words for people

This week’s words
neoist
rounder
hotspur
blellum
pot-valiant

hotspur
Hotspur and Lady Percy
Painting: Robert Smirke
Engraving: James Neagle

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

hotspur

PRONUNCIATION:
(HOT-spuhr)

MEANING:
noun: A rash, hotheaded person.
adjective: Having a rash, hotheaded temperament.

ETYMOLOGY:
Of uncertain origin. Earliest documented use: 1403.

NOTES:
Perhaps the origin of the term is in the former idiom “hot on the spur” referring to a rash rider whose spur was hot from rash or constant riding. Another thought is that it’s after Hotspur, nickname of Sir Henry Percy (1364-1403), who was killed in the Battle of Shrewsbury. When Hotspur’s father, Henry Percy Sr. is informed of his son’s death in Henry IV Part II, Shakespeare has him pun along the lines of: So Hotspur is Coldspur now? In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare has the dying Mercutio say, “Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.” If only Dr. Who had bard the playwright from all this punning when he met him.

USAGE:
“He was a spirited child, claiming, ‘I used to be a hotspur, though my mother eventually managed to curb my temper.’”
Franciszek Macharski: Scholarly Archbishop of Krakow; The Times (London, UK); Aug 30, 2016.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We all live under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon. -Konrad Adenauer, statesman (5 Jan 1876-1967)

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