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A.Word.A.Day--Rosetta stone

Pronunciation RealAudio

Rosetta stone (ro-ZET-uh stohn) noun

A clue or key that helps in understanding of a previously insolvable puzzle.

[After Rosetta stone, a granite tablet found in 1799 near Rosetta in northern Egypt in the Nile river delta. The tablet, now held in the British Museum, has the same message written in two languages (Egyptian and Greek) using three different scripts (hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek). Discovery of this tablet, dating from 196 BCE, made possible the interpretation of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.]

"What, I asked, might be an emblematic new policy, something to symbolise their purpose, just as council house sales were Mrs Thatcher's Rosetta stone in 1979?"
Polly Toynbee, Tory Heads on the Block, The Guardian (London), Oct 1, 1999.

This week's theme: toponyms or words derived from place names.


The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. -Thomas Babington Macaulay, author and statesman (1800-1859)

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