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Today's Word



Aug 6, 2018
This week’s theme
Words related to veggies

This week’s words
olive branch
couch potato

olive branch
William III & Mary II receive the olive branch from Peace (detail)
Art: James Thornhill, c.1700

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with Anu Garg

Bean is a four-letter word and just as versatile. It can mean a person’s head (use your bean!), money (not a bean in his pocket), secret (spill the beans), the least amount (he doesn’t know beans about computers), nonsense (he is full of beans if he thinks the Yankees can win this year), energy (she’s still full of beans at 102).

Oh, it is also the word for some green vegetables (finish your beans!).

Last month we had a week of words related to fruits and we promised to be back with veggies. This week we’ll feature five terms related to vegetables (from Latin vegetare: to invigorate). With an etymology like that you know they have to be good. So, eat your veggies!

olive branch

(OL-iv branch)

noun: An offer or gesture of peace, reconciliation, or goodwill.

In Greek mythology, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, art, and warfare, gave Athens its first olive tree and hence Athens was named after her, or vice versa, i.e. Athena was named after Athens, depending on whether you believe god(s) and goddess(es) created humans or vice versa. Earliest documented use: 1400.

“Yossi Klein Halevi wants to extend an olive branch to his Palestinian neighbors, and does so, in his incredibly compelling and heartfelt book Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor.”
Elaine Margolin; An Olive Branch in Jerusalem; Jerusalem Post (Israel); May 25, 2018.

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

One of the primary tests of the mood of a society at any given time is whether its comfortable people tend to identify, psychologically, with the power and achievements of the very successful or with the needs and sufferings of the underprivileged. -Richard Hofstadter, historian (6 Aug 1916-1970)

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