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Dec 10, 2019
This week’s theme
Biblical allusions

This week’s words
corbie messenger
land of nod
Apollyon
Magdalene
goliath

land of nod
Cain fleeing before Jehovah’s Curse
Cain heading to the land of Nod. But he doesn’t look that sleepy?!
Art: Fernand-Anne Piestre Cormon, c. 1880

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

land of nod

PRONUNCIATION:
(land ov nod)

MEANING:
noun: Sleep.

ETYMOLOGY:
From a punning reference to the land of Nod in the Bible. Earliest documented use: 1738.

NOTES:
In Genesis 4:16, Cain kills his brother Abel. When asked why, he retorts “Am I my brother’s keeper?” while not even looking up from his phone. God curses him to be a “fugitive and a vagabond”. Cain then goes to dwell in the “land of Nod, on the east of Eden”.

“Nod” is the root of the verb “to wander” in Hebrew. So going to the land of nod implied going to go wandering. Jonathan Swift first used “Nod” as a punning reference to sleeping, as in “to nod off” when drowsy:

Colonel Atwit: I’m going to the Land of Nod.
Mr Neverout: Faith, I’m for Bedfordshire.
(Swift; Complete Collection of Polite and Ingenious Conversation; 1738.)

Now you can go to the land of nod or to Bedfordshire when it’s time to catch some Zs.

USAGE:
“There is one objective on a Cabin (called SleepBus in an earlier iteration), and that is to reach the destination via the land of nod.”
Why an Eight-Hour Bus Ride from Los Angeles to San Francisco Might Beat a Flight; The Economist (London, UK); Aug 8, 2017.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Who has not found the heaven below / Will fail of it above. / God's residence is next to mine, / His furniture is love. -Emily Dickinson, poet (10 Dec 1830-1886)

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