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Ruritanian (roor-i-TAY-nee-uhn) adjective

Of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a mythical place of high, typically comic-opera, romance.

[After Ruritania, imaginary realm in the novel The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope.]

"Popular mythology has it that teleworkers all live in Ruritanian bliss in the wilds of Wales with only sheep as neighbours." Ross Clark, Property: The middle of nowhere will not do, The Daily Telegraph, 25 Jul 1998.

If a novel has contributed a word to the dictionary, one can safely assume that it must have been a popular work. In fact, English lawyer Anthony Hope's (1863-1933) novel was such a hit that he gave up his law practice in favor of writing. The kingdom of Ruritania is the setting for his 1894 novel "The Prisoner of Zenda", and its 1898 sequel "Rupert of Hentzau". Acts of treason, chivalry, and romance take place in this fanciful place that gives us today's word. In this week's theme we visit toponyms: words derived from place names. -Anu


The flower that follows the sun does so even on cloudy days. -Robert Leighton (1611-1684)

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