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Oct 19, 2012
This week's theme
Optimists and pessimists from fiction who became words

This week's words
pollyanna
jeremiah
micawber
cassandra
pangloss

Pangloss
Pangloss
Illustration: Barry Deutsch

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Words that aren't what they appear to be
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Pangloss

PRONUNCIATION:
(PAN-glos)

MEANING:
noun: One who is optimistic regardless of the circumstances.
adjective: Blindly or unreasonably optimistic.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Dr. Pangloss, a philosopher and tutor in Voltaire's 1759 satire Candide. Pangloss believes that, in spite of what happens -- shipwreck, earthquake, hanging, flogging, and more -- "All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds." The name is coined from Greek panglossia (talkativeness). Earliest documented use: 1794.

USAGE:
"Steven Pinker is a Pangloss ... The world is a better place than it used to be."
Bill McSweeney; Why We Should Look on the Bright Side; The Irish Times (Dublin); Dec 3, 2011.

"Don Regan tried to pick up where Mike Deaver left off in the spin game of gilding foul-ups with a Pangloss sheen, but he was a bit too candid."
Jim Fain; Lights, Action, Camera Again; Observer-Reporter (Pennsylvania); Aug 14, 1987.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I think that to get under the surface and really appreciate the beauty of a country, one has to go there poor. -Grace Moore, actress and singer (1898-1947)

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