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Mar 13, 2019
This week’s theme
Words that have entered the language during the last 25 years

This week’s words
upcycling
selfie
mansplain
gamification
bingeable

mansplain
Illustration: Dylan Thurgood

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

mansplain

PRONUNCIATION:
(MAN-splayn)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To explain something, especially to a woman, in a condescending manner assuming ignorance on the part of the person spoken to, while the reverse is often true.

ETYMOLOGY:
A blend of man + explain, from Latin explanare (to make level), from ex- (intensive prefix) + planus (level, flat, plain). Earliest documented use: 2008.

NOTES:
Mansplaining brings to mind what Bertrand Russell once said: “The fundamental cause of the trouble in the modern world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” The canonical example of mansplaining is when, at a party, a man learns that a woman has written a book on the photographer Eadweard Muybridge. He cuts her short and starts explaining to her about an important book that came out on the photographer that year, not knowing that he was talking to Rebecca Solnit, the author of that very book.

USAGE:
“The way Ireland sees it, male attitudes to women are akin to the rest of the UK’s attitude to Northern Ireland. They listen but don’t hear, brutalise but plead innocence, call for conversation but merely mansplain.”
Mark Fisher; Ulster American Review; The Guardian (London, UK); Aug 7, 2018.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Don't ask me who's influenced me. A lion is made up of the lambs he's digested, and I've been reading all my life. -Giorgos Seferis, writer, diplomat, Nobel laureate (13 Mar 1900-1971)

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