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Jul 12, 2021
This week’s theme
Words coined after buildings and venues

This week’s words
Grand Guignol
chamber of horrors
Hawthorne effect

Tammany Hall Facade

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with Anu Garg

You know you have arrived if you find yourself performing on a Carnegie Hall* stage, but how do you get there?

No need for a GPS. As any New Yorker would tell you, the way to Carnegie Hall is: Practice, practice, practice!

It’s one of the most prestigious performance venues in the world. It’s a place where not only is Tchaikovsky’s music performed, but also one where Tchaikovsky himself performed. (He conducted his own Festival Coronation March in the inaugural concert in 1891.)

Carnegie Hall has now become a synonym for success. This week we’ll visit five other buildings and venues that have words coined after them. We’ll make stops in a hall, a theater, a museum, a prison, and a factory. And our itinerary will take us from the US to France to England, back to France, and to the US.

What building’s name do you use metaphorically? Share below or email us at words@wordsmith.org.

*Till you reach the Carnegie Hall, consider stopping by one of the other Carnegie Halls in Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Scotland. If you have to have the Carnegie Hall but too busy to woodshed, you could still perform there. The place can be rented, no auditions required.



adjective: Relating to political corruption.

After Tammany Hall in New York City, former home of the New York County Democratic Party, which was known for corruption. Earliest documented use: 1872.

Tamanend or Tammany was a wise and peaceful Delaware Indian chief who became known as the “patron saint” of America. Many social clubs and societies were named after him. Tammany Hall in New York was one such place that evolved into a political machine notorious for its corruption. It was active from 1789-1967.

“The posture of a Tammany politician, forever launching into insincere Biblical harangues at exactly the wrong moment.”
Ray Conlogue; The 101 Miracles of Hope Chance; The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada); Jan 19, 1989.

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

Words / as slippery as smooth grapes, / words exploding in the light / like dormant seeds waiting / in the vaults of vocabulary, / alive again, and giving life: / once again the heart distills them. -Pablo Neruda, poet, diplomat, Nobel laureate (12 Jul 1904-1973)

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