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Dec 17, 2014
This week's theme
Terms with apostrophes

This week's words
dog's chance
gentleman's agreement
cat's cradle
who's who
lion's share

The lovers Okiku and Yosuke play cat's cradle
The lovers Okiku and Yosuke play cat's cradle (1804)
Art: Eishosai Choki

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

cat's cradle

PRONUNCIATION:
(kats kraydl)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A children's game in which a string is wrapped around one player's hands in complex symmetrical patterns and transferred to another player's hands to form a different pattern. (video)
2. Something elaborate or intricate, especially when without an apparent purpose.

ETYMOLOGY:
Of uncertain origin. Earliest documented use: 1768.

USAGE:
"But policymakers seem trapped in a cat's cradle of economic, political, and legal constraints that is preventing effective action."
Guntram B. Wolff; Europe's Fiscal Wormhole; The Business Times (Singapore); Oct 31, 2014.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, "It might have been." -John Greenleaf Whittier, poet (1807-1892)

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