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A.Word.A.Day--abecedarian

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Millions around the globe will celebrate World Teachers' Day on October 5. Growing up in India, I came to regard my teachers with the highest respect. Kabir, a mystic poet in 15th century India, wrote in one of his couplets (in Hindi),

"Guru Govind dou khade, kaake laagoon paye
Balihari guru aapki, Govind diyo milaye."

Translated:
I face both God and my guru. Whom should I bow to first?
I first bow to my guru because he's the one who showed me the path to God.

The word guru is from Sanskrit via Hindi where its literal meaning is venerable or weighty. Ultimately the word is derived from the same Indo-European root that gave us the word gravity.

When I came to the US to attend graduate school, I was horrified to hear students addressing the professors by their names, even first names. Eventually, I persuaded myself to call my professors Dr. White or Dr. Kennedy but I could never address them as Lee or Miles.

Teachers' Day is observed on various days in different parts of the world. In India, it's celebrated on September 5; in the US it's on the Tuesday of the first full week of May. World Teachers' Day is on October 5. Whenever you celebrate it, to all the world's teachers: I bow to you.

abecedarian (ay-bee-see-DAYR-ee-uhn) noun

1. One who is learning the alphabet.

2. One who teaches the alphabet.

3. One who is a beginner in some field.

adjective

1. Alphabetically arranged.

2. Relating to the alphabet.

3. Rudimentary

[From Medieval Latin abecedarium (alphabet or a book of the alphabet), from the letters a, b, c, and d.]

See more usage examples of abecedarian in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

-Anu Garg (garg wordsmith.org)

"Jeff Blitz gets into the shoes of these fascinating abecedarians, most of whom sit at the nerd table in their middle-school cafeteria."
Carrie Rickey; Spellbound; The Philadelphia Inquirer; May 28, 2003.

X-Bonus

In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have. -Lee Iacocca, automobile executive (1924- )

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