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May 6, 2021
This week’s theme
Well-traveled words

This week’s words
zen
butterfingered
canary
panache
alterity

panache
Helmet with a panache (detail)
Art: Lodewijk van der Helst, 1670

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

panache

PRONUNCIATION:
(puh-NASH)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A confident, stylish manner; swagger.
2. A tuft of feathers on a headdress, such as a helmet, hat, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French panache, from Italian pennacchio, from Latin pinnaculum (small wing), diminutive of pinna (wing, feather). Ultimately from the Indo-European root pet- (to rush or fly), which also gave us feather, petition, compete, perpetual, pterodactyl, and helicopter. Earliest documented use: 1584.

NOTES:
The word was popularized in English from the success of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac. Cyrano proclaims:
“I’m going to take the simplest approach to life of all ... I’ve decided to excel in everything.”
He, of course, wears a panache, and it is literally his last word:
“Yet there is something still that will always be mine, and when today I go into God’s presence, there I will doff it and sweep the heavenly pavement with a gesture: something I’ll take unstained out of this world ... my panache.”

USAGE:
“Peter Sculthorpe’s Tabuh Tabuhan ... dominated the afternoon concert through sheer sureness of touch and sometimes even panache.”
Clever Choice of Quartets; The Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia); Mar 11, 2021.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Not thinking critically, I assumed that the "successful" prayers were proof that God answers prayer while the failures were proof that there was something wrong with me. -Dan Barker, former preacher, musician (b. 1949)

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