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Jun 5, 2020
This week’s theme
Words borrowed from Japanese

This week’s words
bokeh
sensei
sayonara
origami
seppuku

seppuku
Samurai about to perform seppuku
Art: Kunikazu Utagawa, 1850s

This week’s comments
AWADmail 936

Next week’s theme
Words having origins in rivers

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

seppuku

PRONUNCIATION:
(se-POO-koo, SE-puh-koo)

MEANING:
noun:
1. Ritual suicide by disembowelment.
2. Ruining one’s own interests.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Japanese setsu fuku, from setsu (to cut) + fuku (abdomen), ultimately from Chinese. Earliest documented use: 1871.

NOTES:
Seppuku, also known as harakiri, was the ritual killing of oneself. It was practiced by samurai in Japan. It could be performed in shame for bringing dishonor, to avoid capture by the enemy, or as a form of protest. One could be asked to do so as a punishment. Also see kamikaze.

USAGE:
“Sean Duffy didn’t actually commit media seppuku until Tuesday when he went on CNN to question the patriotism of Ukrainian-born Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.”
Jack Shafer; The Toughest Job in Journalism Is Defending Trump on CNN; Politico (Arlington, Virginia); Oct 30, 2019.

See more usage examples of seppuku in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks. -Sarah Moore Grimke, abolitionist (1792-1873)

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