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Today's Word

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weal (weel) noun

Pronunciation RealAudio

Well-being; prosperity.

[From Middle English wele, from Old English wela.]

weal (weel) noun

A ridge on the skin formed as a result of a blow.

[Variant of wale, influenced by wheal.]

"Mistakes committed by Ignorance in a virtuous Disposition, would never be of such fatal Consequence to the Publick Weal, as the Practices of a Man whose Inclinations led him to be corrupt, and had great Abilities to manage, and multiply, and defend his Corruptions." Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (Part I: A Voyage to Lilliput), 1726.

Jonathan Swift's 1726 book Gulliver's Travels not only takes readers to many exotic worlds, but also introduces them to numerous exotic words. All of this week's words are taken from this great satire, written, according to Swift, "to vex the world rather than divert it". -Anu


To the question whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hoping are optimistic. -Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate (1875-1965)

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