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Oct 30, 2019
This week’s theme
Eponyms from fiction

This week’s words
Sinon
grobian
Scheherazade
Red Queen hypothesis
rodomont

Scheherazade
Scheherazade and Sultan Shahryar, 1880
Art: Ferdinand Keller

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Scheherazade

PRONUNCIATION:
(shuh-her-uh-ZAHD, -ZAH-duh, -dee)

MEANING:
noun: A storyteller, especially one who tells long, entertaining stories.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Scheherezade, the wife of a king in One Thousand and One Nights. Earliest documented use: 1851.

NOTES:
In One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of stories from the Middle East, the king Shahryar discovers his wife being unfaithful. He learns that his brother’s wife is unfaithful as well. He kills his wife and decides to take revenge on all women by marrying a virgin every day and having her executed the next morning so she never gets an opportunity to cheat. One day it’s the turn of Scheherezade, the vizier’s daughter, to be the bride. She asks the king if she could say farewell to her sister Dunyazad first. The king agrees and the sister, who has been prepared in advance, asks Scheherezade to tell a story. The story is engrossing and the king is awake listening. Scheherezade stops the story just before dawn saying there’s no time left to finish. The king spares her life to find out what happened. The next night she finishes the story and starts another, even more captivating story. And so it goes for 1001 nights and by that time the king has fallen in love with her beauty and intelligence and makes her the queen.

Sheherazade is the patron saint of television script writers, who decide just where to put commercial breaks in a TV show.

USAGE:
“Yes, Cusk is a Scheherazade here, holding us fast with stories.”
Karen Brady; Framework of Narrator’s Life Emerges Through Others’ Stories; Buffalo News (New York); Jan 31, 2015.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree. -Ezra Pound, poet (30 Oct 1885-1972)

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