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Sep 11, 2018
This week’s theme
Words coined after stock characters

This week’s words
zany
punchinello
alazon
eiron
capitano

punchinello
Artist unknown, early 19th century

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

punchinello

PRONUNCIATION:
(pun-chuh-NEL-o)

MEANING:
noun: A grotesque or absurd person.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Italian (Naples dialect) polecenella (a short, fat buffoon, principal character in Italian puppet shows), diminutive of pollecena (turkey pullet), ultimately from Latin pullus (young chicken). From the resemblance of punchinello’s nose to a turkey’s beak. Earliest documented use: 1662.

USAGE:
“Unlike Mr. Donahue, she doesn’t automatically sympathize with every oddball and Punchinello who feels mistreated.”
Martha Bayles; Oprah vs. Phil: Warmth Wins Out; The Wall Street Journal (New York); Jan 26, 1987.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty. -Jessica Mitford, author, journalist, and civil rights activist (11 Sep 1917-1996)

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