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Today's Word



Oct 30, 2023
This week’s theme
Is it a noun, adjective, or verb?

This week’s words

Illustration: Anu Garg + AI

Previous week’s theme
There’s a word for it
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with Anu Garg

Q. Give us some examples of verbs, please.
A. List verb and noun?

Q. No, just verbs!
A. List, verb, and noun.

Q. What? How do you use these?
A. verb, verb tr.: To turn a word into a verb. “I can verb nouns.”
    noun, verb tr.: To turn a word into a noun. “Please accept this invite to noun any verbs.”
    list, verb tr.: To list something. “I just listed three verbs.”

Apologies for all the meta-ing going on here, but don’t let all this verbing and nouning bother you. This kind of transitioning happens all the time. Language would be unrecognizable if we forbade it. The world is more complex than we can imagine. Transitioning, in humans or in languages, is completely normal and common.

This week we feature five words that you may be used to seeing as one part of speech but they serve us as others as well.


(PRY-mer-ee, -muh-ree)

adjective: First; main; most important; basic.
noun: Something that is fundamental or first in sequence, rank, or importance.
verb tr.: To field a candidate against an incumbent of one’s own party.

From Latin primus (first). Earliest documented use: 1425; for verb: 1916.

In many countries, party leaders nominate candidates to run in an election. They select the most qualified person. Ha! Perhaps sometimes, but the considerations might be nepotism, personal favors, bribery, and more.

In contrast, countries like the US adopt a more open approach. Anyone can enter a primary in a bid to represent their party in the general election.

This system, though seemingly transparent, can still be mired in complexities. For instance, incumbents typically don’t face primaries from their own party members. However, if perceived as not aligning with party ideologies, they might face people of their own party challenging them in a primary.

“Many Republican politicians are more worried about being primaried by their own party leaders.”
Matthew Rothschild; The Fight for Democracy; The Progressive (Madison, Wisconsin); Feb/Mar 2022.

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

The only thing one can give an artist is leisure in which to work. To give an artist leisure is actually to take part in his creation. -Ezra Pound, poet (30 Oct 1885-1972)

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