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Strange words

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Re: Strange words

Notapor billpatt » Mar May 31, 2011 9:29 am

fatwa

PRONUNCIATION:
(FAHT-wah)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A ruling on a point of law given by an Islamic religious leader.
2. A severe denunciation.


ETYMOLOGY:
From Arabic fatwa (legal opinion, decree), from afta (to decide a legal point). Ultimately from the Semitic root ptw (to advise) that also brought us the word mufti.


NOTES:
Although the word has been recorded in the English language since 1625, the incident that brought it into worldwide consciousness took place in 1989. The most infamous of all fatwas took place on February 14 that year when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran pronounced a death sentence on the novelist Salman Rushdie for his book The Satanic Verses.
Khomeini could simply have written a book of his own countering Rushdie's. Why not fight ink with ink instead of with blood?

In Islam a fatwa could be a ruling on any point (such as the fatwa against ads for dog chow, see below), and most fatwas are about day-to-day life. But given the ease with which fatwas seem to call for murder, the word is now synonymous with extreme condemnation of someone, up to death. The latest fatwa victim is a Seattle cartoonist.


USAGE:
"Ads promoting pet foods and shops selling pet accessories, especially for cats and dogs, have been banned by the fatwa. Based on shariah, a dog is essentially unclean."
Fatwa Bans Pet Ads; Tehran Times (Iran); Aug 25, 2010.

"By not having read carefully my extremely carefully thought-through text, many scooter riders contacted me most angrily because they thought I'd inferred that all scooter riders are fascists... I have nothing against scooters -- I had quite a romance with an old Lambretta myself once -- so please withdraw your fatwa."
Barefoot Doctor; Global Warning; The Observer (London, UK); Jul 14, 2002.
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Re: Strange words

Notapor billpatt » Mar May 31, 2011 9:30 am

custos morum

PRONUNCIATION:
(KOOS-tohs MOH-room, -ruhm)

MEANING:
noun: A guardian of morals; censor.


ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin custos morum (guardian of morals, laws, etc.).


USAGE:
"A self-righteous soul can identify himself as custos morum."
William Safire; Delicious Delicto; The New York Times; Mar 30, 1986.
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Re: Strange words

Notapor billpatt » Mar May 31, 2011 9:33 am

excommunicate

PRONUNCIATION:
(verb: eks-kuh-MYOO-ni-kayt, noun and adj: eks-kuh-MYOO-ni-kit, -kayt)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To formally exclude someone from a group or community, especially from a religious community.
noun: A person who has been excluded in this manner.
adjective: Having been excluded.


ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin excommunicare (to put out of the community), from ex- (out of) + communis (common). Ultimately from the Indo-European root mei- (to change or move) that has also given us commute, mutual, migrate, common, mistake, and immune.


NOTES:
There's censorship of books, and there is censorship of humans. Excommunication is a fancy word to describe the latter.


USAGE:
"Aquinas had responded that we ought to die excommunicated rather than violate our conscience."
Fr Joe Borg; Respect and responsibility; The Times (Valletta, Malta); Sep 5, 2010.
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Re: Strange words

Notapor billpatt » Mar May 31, 2011 9:34 am

euphemism

PRONUNCIATION:
(YOO-fuh-miz-em)

MEANING:
noun: Use of a mild, neutral, evasive, or vague term in place of one considered taboo, offensive, blunt, or unpleasant.


ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek euphemismos, from euphemos (auspicious), from eu- (good) + pheme (speaking).


EXAMPLES:
collateral damage for civilian casualties
second-hand for used
pre-owned for second-hand
pre-loved for pre-owned
budget for cheap
pass (away) for die
sanitation worker for garbage collector/janitor
convivial for drunken
The opposite of euphemism is dysphemism.


USAGE:
"Two-and-a-half months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the notorious Executive Order 9066. As a result, more than 110,000 Japanese, virtually all the Japanese-Americans on the mainland, were 'evacuated to concentration camps' in remote parts of America's mountain states. The words were his, though they were soon replaced in official parlance by the euphemism, 'reception centres'."
The Consequences of Terror, Japanese Internment in America (book review); The Economist (London); Sep 22, 2001.
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Re: Strange words

Notapor billpatt » Vie Jun 10, 2011 4:03 pm

samizdat

PRONUNCIATION:
(SAH-miz-daht)

MEANING:
noun: An underground publishing system used to print and circulate banned literature clandestinely. Also, such literature.


ETYMOLOGY:
From Russian samizdat, from samo- (self) + izdatelstvo (publishing house), from izdat (to publish). Coined facetiously on the model of Gosizdat (State Publishing House).


USAGE:
"This remarkable little book (People Power Uli!) includes jokes, text messages, cartoons, and poems of the revolt. It is both funny and a valuable record of samizdat literature and Philippine popular culture."
Alastair Dingwall; Estrada's Fall From Grace; Far Eastern Economic Review (Hong Kong); Jan 17, 2002.
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Re: Strange words

Notapor billpatt » Vie Jun 10, 2011 4:06 pm

nepotism

PRONUNCIATION:
(NEP-uh-tiz-uhm)

MEANING:
noun: Favoritism shown to relatives and friends, especially in business or political appointments.


ETYMOLOGY:
From Italian nepotismo, from Latin nepos (grandson, nephew). Ultimately from the Indo-European root nepot- (grandson, nephew) that is also the source of the words nephew and niece.


NOTES:
The word originated from the practice of popes in the Roman Catholic Church to confer important positions to their sons. Since a pope had taken the vow of chastity, his son was euphemistically called a nephew.


USAGE:
"What is not siphoned off in corruption is wasted, due to the ineptitude of those appointed on the basis of nepotism and cronyism."
Mahreen Aziz Khan; Demo-crassy Rules; The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan); Sep 25, 2010.
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Re: Strange words

Notapor billpatt » Vie Jun 10, 2011 4:07 pm

cozen

PRONUNCIATION:
(KUHZ-uhn)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To trick or deceive.


ETYMOLOGY:
The origin of the word is not certain. It is perhaps from French cousiner, in the sense of one claiming to be a cousin to derive a benefit from the relationship. According to another theory, it is derived from obsolete Italian cozzonare, from Italian cozzone (horse trader), from Latin cocio (dealer). The word cousin is also slang for someone gullible.


USAGE:
"Hobart began his career in art by cozening yokels out of unregarded treasures."
Rhoda Koenig; Kicking A Dead Horse; The Independent (London, UK); Sep 12, 2008.
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Re: Strange words

Notapor billpatt » Vie Jun 10, 2011 4:09 pm

Dutch uncle

PRONUNCIATION:
(duch UNG-kuhl)

MEANING:
noun: Someone who advises or criticizes frankly and sternly.


ETYMOLOGY:
The English and the Dutch have fought in many wars during the 17th and 18th century. Even though they are friendly with each other now, the English language still carries traces of the past animosity, demeaning the Dutch: from Dutch treat (where each must pay his or her own share), Dutch gold (imitation gold), Dutch courage (courage inspired by liquor), and so on. A Dutch uncle is the opposite of a typical uncle (kind and indulgent), he's not avuncular. You can be sure, he doesn't believe in nepotism.


USAGE:
"George Perry is the Dutch uncle some parents wished they could send their son to -- if the boy needed some straight talk."
Rayne Wolfe; Lessons & Lambs; Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, California); Jul 29, 2008.
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Re: Strange words

Notapor billpatt » Vie Jun 10, 2011 4:15 pm

sienna

sienna.jpg
sienna.jpg (10.96 KiB) Visto 3344 veces

PRONUNCIATION:
(see-EN-uh)

MEANING:
noun: A color derived from clay, ranging from yellowish brown (in raw form) to reddish brown (when roasted).


ETYMOLOGY:
From Italian terra di Siena (earth of Siena). After Siena, a city in Italy once noted for the mining of this mineral. In its roasted form, the color is known as burnt sienna.


USAGE:
"Once you plow through the manual, you can program all your preferred settings, meaning the oven will remember just which shade of sienna you like your toast."
Melissa Clark; Compact Cookery; The New York Times; Aug 24, 2005.
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Re: Strange words

Notapor billpatt » Vie Jun 10, 2011 4:16 pm

nankeen or nankin

PRONUNCIATION:
(nan-KEEN or nan-KIN)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A yellow or buff color.
2. A sturdy yellow or buff cotton fabric.
3. (nankeens) Trousers made of this cloth.
4. A Chinese porcelain having blue designs on a white background.


ETYMOLOGY:
After Nanking, a city in China, where it was first made, now spelled as Nanjing. Nanjing is literally "southern capital". Beijing means "northern capital".


USAGE:
"A bright, laughing face ... a traveling-dress of a nankeen color ... such were the characteristics of our fair guest."
Wilkie Collins; The Queen of Hearts: A Novel; BiblioLife; 2009.
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