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Oct 18, 2012
This week's theme
Optimists and pessimists from fiction who became words

This week's words
pollyanna
jeremiah
micawber
cassandra
pangloss

Cassandra in front of burning Troy
Cassandra in front of burning Troy
Art: Evelyn De Morgan, 1898

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

cassandra

PRONUNCIATION:
(kuh-SAND-ruh)

MEANING:
noun: One who prophesies disaster and whose warnings are unheeded.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Cassandra in Greek mythology who received the gift of prophecy but was later cursed never to be believed. Earliest documented use: 1670.

NOTES:
Cassandra was the daughter of the Trojan king Priam and Hecuba. Apollo, the god of light, who also controlled fine arts, music, and eloquence, granted her the ability to see the future. But when she didn't return his love, he condemned her never to be believed. Among other things, Cassandra warned about the Trojan horse that the Greeks left but her warning was ignored.

USAGE:
"I had become a Cassandra -- I could see bad things on the road ahead but couldn't stop us from recklessly rolling over them."
Douglas Edwards; I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2011.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The late F.W.H. Myers used to tell how he asked a man at a dinner table what he thought would happen to him when he died. The man tried to ignore the question, but on being pressed, replied: "Oh well, I suppose I shall inherit eternal bliss, but I wish you wouldn't talk about such unpleasant subjects." -Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970)

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