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Oct 8, 2015
This week’s theme
Bird words

This week’s words
gannet
snipe
dodo
magpie
dotterel

magpie
Photo: bzd1

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

magpie

PRONUNCIATION:
(MAG-py)

MEANING:
noun:
1. Any of various birds, typically having a long tail and black-and-white plumage; also various other birds that resemble a magpie.
2. A chatterer.
3. A person who indiscriminately collects things, especially things of little value.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Mag (a nickname for Margaret) + pie (magpie), from Latin pica (magpie). The use of the name Mag is from the stereotypical association of women with chattering. Magpies have a (rather undeserved) reputation for chattering and hoarding, but they are some of the most intelligent animals. Two other words coined after them are pied and pica. Earliest documented use: 1589.

USAGE:
“Where Forrest is spare with his words, Mayorga is a magpie.”
Steve Hummer; Brash, Swaggering and Hungry ‘El Matador’ is Ready for Forrest Rematch; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Georgia); Jul 10, 2003.

“I’ve recently started collecting china teacups and teapots. I don’t use them, but just keep them in a cabinet. I’m a bit of a magpie.”
The World of Amanda Abbington, Actress; Telegraph Magazine (London, UK); Sep 19, 2015.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We must learn to honor excellence in every socially accepted human activity, however humble the activity, and to scorn shoddiness, however exalted the activity. An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. The society that scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water. -John W. Gardner, author and leader (8 Oct 1912-2002)

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