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Today's Word

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Apr 15, 2013
This week's theme
Words coined after proper names

This week's words
peeping Tom
nice nelly
nosy parker
doubting Thomas
lazy Susan

Lady Godiva
Lady Godiva
Art: John Collier, c. 1897

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with Anu Garg

A name is just a label. Or is it? Research has shown that a name may have a profound effect on a person's life. People choose their professions and much more under the influence of their names. Scientist and writer Isaac Asimov even wrote a short story on this topic, titled "Spell My Name with an S".

This week we have picked five words based on names. Now that we know what Tom is doing, this week we'll also find out what Nelly, Parker, Thomas, and Susan are up to.

peeping Tom

(PEE-ping tom)

noun: Someone who gets sexual pleasure from secretly watching others; voyeur.

From the legend of Lady Godiva who rode unclothed through the streets of Coventry, England to persuade her husband to lower taxes on the people. All the townsfolk shuttered their windows, except for a tailor named Tom who couldn't resist and watched. Earliest documented use: 1769.

"A peeping Tom who used a stealth camera to photograph up the skirt of a cabin attendant during a flight last month has avoided charges."
Airborne Peeping Tom Photog Slips Through Jurisdictional Cracks; The Japan Times (Tokyo); Oct 13, 2012.

Only mediocrity can be trusted to be always at its best. Genius must always have lapses proportionate to its triumphs. -Max Beerbohm, essayist, parodist, and caricaturist (1872-1956)

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