Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



Nov 1, 2004
This week's theme

This week's words

Previous week’s theme
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
with Anu Garg

No matter where we stand on earth, we can all enjoy an equally wondrous view of the stars. Yet the age-old wisdom tells us there are three important things to look for when the aim is to call a few yards of this land ours: location, location, location. And location is what we want to pay attention to when it comes to this week's words, for they all came from the names of locations. They're known as toponyms, words derived from places.

Whether it's when we drink champagne (from Champagne, France), make a solecism (after Soloi, an Athenian colony in Cilicia), or when we meet our Waterloo (Waterloo, Belgium) we are (perhaps unknowingly) alluding to a distant land and its history. This week's words take us on a tour of Europe.

Neanderthal or Neandertal

(nee-AN-duhr-thol Pronunciation

1. Of, or pertaining to Neanderthal man, a member of an extinct subspecies of Homo sapiens who lived in caves in Europe and the Mediterranean 100,000 to 30,000 years ago.
2. Boorish, uncivilized.

1. Neanderthal man.
2. An unenlightened or uncouth man.

After Neanderthal (literally, Neander valley) in western Germany near Düsseldorf, where bones of a Neanderthal man were first discovered in 1856. In 1904 German spelling was regularized so Thal became Tal.

"Formula One racing is unique for its Neanderthal attitude to everything female."
Janet Street-Porter; What is it About Men and Cars?; The Mercury (Durban, South Africa); Jul 13, 2004.

"Is hi-tech bad for us? What are you, some kind of Neanderthal? How would we ever cope with the modern era without technology?"
Vikas Singh; Is the Hi-tech World Laying Us Low?; The Times of India (New Delhi); Jul 3, 2004.

See more usage examples of neanderthal in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.


May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof (White House). -John Adams, 2nd US President, and the first one to live in the White House (1735-1826)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith