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Today's Word



Jul 22, 2019
This week’s theme

This week’s words
Manchurian candidate
ultima Thule

“Enjoy Christmas with us.
Bookings been taken now”

“Setting the Standard for Pubs in Headington” (Oxford, UK)

Previous week’s theme
Words originating in the moon
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with Anu Garg

What country has the most powerful -- no, not bombs -- the most powerful passport? According to this CNN article it’s a tie between Japan and Singapore. Citizens of these countries can travel to 189 countries without needing a visa (short for Latin carta visa, literally, a document seen or examined). One day, there will be no need for things such as a visa.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
[Check out this rendition; 8 min., but totally worth it]

It’ll happen. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it will. Until then, we’ll take you to visit other countries on the magic carpet of words (no visa required).

This week we’ll visit places that have become words in the English language. We call such words toponyms, from Greek topos (place) + -nym (name). We’re going to see Greece, China, France, Russia, and well, let’s say Greenland.


(SOL-i-siz-ehm, SO-li-)

1. A grammatical mistake or a nonstandard usage.
2. A breach of etiquette.
3. An error, inconsistency, or impropriety.

From Latin soloecismus, from Greek soloikismos, from soloikos (speaking incorrectly; literally, inhabitant of Soloi) after Soloi, an ancient Athenian colony in Cilicia where a dialect considered as substandard was spoken. Earliest documented use: 1577.

“Purists who carp about grammatical solecisms such as ‘try and find’ instead of ‘try to find’ should refer to a 2007 study which found that Brits use ‘try and’ 71 per cent of the time in speech and 24 per cent in writing, compared with Americans who used it only 24 per cent of the time in speech and 5 per cent in writing.”
Michael Skapinker; The Language of Shakespeare: American English is Truer to Tradition Than the British Like to Think; Financial Times (London, UK); Mar 24, 2018.

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

Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door! -Emma Lazarus, poet and playwright (22 Jul 1849-1887) [from a poem written to raise funds for building the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty]

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