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Jul 9, 2019
This week’s theme
Words that aren’t what they appear to be

This week’s words
eudemonic
tradecraft
roadstead
sudarium
otherguess

tradecraft
A concealment device disguised as a coin
Photo: CIA

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

tradecraft

PRONUNCIATION:
(TRAYD-kraft)

MEANING:
noun: The techniques and methods of espionage and clandestine operations.

ETYMOLOGY:
From trade, from Middle Dutch / Middle Low German trade (path, course) + craft, from Old English craeft (strength, power). Earliest documented use: 1812.

NOTES:
The word tradecraft is not a synonym of Etsy. It has nothing to do with trading and nothing to do with needlework or pottery either. OK, in the beginning it did mean skill in a particular craft, but since the 1950s it’s mostly used to talk about spying skills. One example of tradecraft is steganography.

USAGE:
“Hundreds more [Russian spies] were exposed by sloppy tradecraft, such as the use of sequentially numbered passports.”
Do Svidaniya Secrecy; The Economist (London, UK); Mar 9, 2019.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
As a child I was taught that to tell the truth was often painful. As an adult I have learned that not to tell the truth is more painful, and that the fear of telling the truth -- whatever the truth may be -- that fear is the most painful sensation of a moral life. -June Jordan, writer, teacher, and activist (9 Jul 1936-2002)

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