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A.Word.A.Day--purple passage

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purple passage (PUR-puhl PAS-ij) noun, also purple patch, purple prose

1. A brilliant passage in an otherwise dull and uninspiring work.

2. A piece of writing marked by ornate, florid style.

[From Latin pannus purpureus (purple patch), a phrase used by poet Horace in his Ars Poetica (The Art of Poetry) to suggest a patch of royal fabric on an ordinary cloth.]

"Page after page is filled with drunken quarrels with his wife; with lies, infidelities, religious doubts, homosexual yearnings and, above all, with his daily, desperate search for a bottle. Interspersed among these dreary horrors are purple passages about his love for his children, his dog and his fine house." A Gin at Mid-Morning -- John Cheever: The Journals by John Cheever, The Economist (London), Jan 11, 1992.

This week's theme: words with color as metaphors.


They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin, statesman, author, and inventor (1706-1790)

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