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Jan 23, 2013
This week's theme
Eponyms

This week's words
silhouette
casanova
xanthippe
shrapnel
Don Juan

Xanthippe pouring water over Socrates
Xanthippe pouring water over Socrates. He's supposed to have replied: After thunder comes rain.
Art: Reyer Jacobsz van Blommendael (1628-1675)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Xanthippe or Xantippe

PRONUNCIATION:
(zan-THIP-ee, -TIP-)

MEANING:
noun: A nagging, ill-tempered woman.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Xanthippe, wife of Socrates (c. 5 century BCE) who has been portrayed as a nagging, quarrelsome woman. The name Xanthippe is from xanthos (yellow) + hippos (horse). Also see xanthodontous. Earliest documented use: 1691.

NOTES:
Socrates is said to have advised, "By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher." It's not known what Socrates thought would happen if the roles were reversed. Also, there's the question of which came first: philosophizing or being ill-tempered. Would being married to a philosopher turn a woman into a shrew?

USAGE:
Mistress Foster is a grasping shrew, a Xanthippe, who bosses her husband about."
Jean Howard; Theater of a City: The Places of London Comedy; University of Pennsylvania Press; 2009.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the human heart can hold. -Zelda Fitzgerald, novelist (1900-1948)

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