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May 3, 2021
This week’s theme
Well-traveled words

This week’s words
zen
butterfingered
canary
panache
alterity

zen
Zen crossword puzzle
Across: 1. Nothing
Down: 1. Nothing
Cartoon: Dan Piraro

Previous week’s theme
Words made with animal parts
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

This purple vegetable has names. In American English it goes as an eggplant, in South African and South Asian Englishes as a brinjal, in British English as an aubergine, and in the language of emojis, well, we’ll talk about that some other time.

In all the names for this bulbous vegetable, there is one that truly sticks out. Many words have traveled, but when it comes to linguistic miles covered, it would be hard to beat the aubergine. It rises above all.

The aubergine spread its seed far and wide before reaching the English language. It came to English from Sanskrit via Persian, Arabic, Catalan, and French. That’s some serious wanderlust.

This week we’ll look at some other words that have earned the well-traveled designation, words that have bounced around before planting their flag in the English language.

On a different note, this Saturday I drove all the way to Lumen Field, a football stadium here in Seattle, and it turned out no game was taking place. So disappointing! Not!
Some 8,000 people were getting vaccinated that day. I too had an appointment. Got my first Pfizer shot. Here's to science! And to adults being in charge of running the country again!
Also see, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Zen or zen

PRONUNCIATION:
(zen)

MEANING:
noun: An activity, approach, state of mind, etc., emphasizing intuition and insights, instead of fixation on goals.
adjective: Calm, peaceful, unruffled.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Zen, a school of Mahayana Buddhism. From Japanese zen (meditation), from Chinese chan (meditation), from Pali jhanam (jhanam), from Sanskrit dhyana (meditation). Earliest documented use: 1727. Also see satori.

USAGE:
“Periods in my life have been very zen and calm. But after a while of swimming around in a blissful lake of contentment, I chuck a gigantic rock in it, cause huge ripples and start again somewhere else.”
Shappi Khorsandi; Happiness?; The Independent (London, UK); Oct 26, 2019.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It is not titles that make men illustrious, but men who make titles illustrious. -Niccolo Machiavelli, political philosopher and author (3 May 1469-1527)

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