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Oct 25, 2017
This week’s theme
Coined words

This week’s words
mimsy
scare quote
proxemics
muppet
bafflegab

proxemics
“Oh, I’m not a guru -- I’m just big on personal space.”
Cartoon: Baloo/Jantoo

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

proxemics

PRONUNCIATION:
(prok-SEE-miks)

MEANING:
noun: The study of physical proximity between people, for example, typical space between two friends.

ETYMOLOGY:
Coined by the anthropologist Edward T. Hall (1914-2009). From proximity (nearness), from French proximité from Latin proximitas, from proximus (nearest), superlative of prope (near). Ultimately from the Indo-European root per- (forward, through), which also gave us paramount, prime, proton, prow, probity, German Frau (woman), and Hindi purana (old). Earliest documented use: 1963.

USAGE:
“A guy across the aisle on the S-Bahn started staring at me, so I took my proxemics into my own hands and stared back with a feigned harsh, angry vengeful countenance.”
T. Santorius; An American Dad in Hamburg - Germania II; Lulu; 2014.

“‘I can’t wait to get on the boat!’ your mother says to them, pressing forward, defying American proxemics customs.”
Julia Elliott; The Wilds; Tin House Books; 2014.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The doctrine which, from the very first origin of religious dissensions, has been held by bigots of all sects, when condensed into a few words and stripped of rhetorical disguise, is simply this: I am in the right, and you are in the wrong. When you are the stronger, you ought to tolerate me, for it is your duty to tolerate truth; but when I am the stronger, I shall persecute you, for it is my duty to persecute error. -Thomas Babington Macaulay, poet, historian, and politician (25 Oct 1800-1859)

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