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Sep 5, 2011
This week's theme
Interjections

This week's words
cowabunga
huzzah
gesundheit
bada-bing
attaboy

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

In the past 17 years of A.Word.A.Day we have never had a whole week of interjections. Sure we had an occasional interjection as part of some other theme, but that's it. This week we'll try to remedy that injustice to this important part of speech.

The word interjection literally means "something thrown in", from inter- (between) + jacere (to throw), though usually interjections stand apart as a single word sentence. We are familiar with everyday interjections such as oh, ah, ouch, and wow, but there are more than a thousand interjections in the English language. In a typical day we use some of them without a thought.

This week we'll feature some of the uncommon interjections. You may already be familiar with these words but you may enjoy their origins.

cowabunga

PRONUNCIATION:
(kou-uh-BUHNG-guh)

MEANING:
interjection: An expression of surprise, joy, or enthusiasm.

ETYMOLOGY:
The word was the cry of Chief Thunderthud, a character in the children's television program Howdy Doody. The word was later adopted by surfers. It was popularized by its use on the animated show Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Earliest documented use: 1954.

USAGE:
"Malaysia reported its first case of a cow giving birth to triplets last week."
Alina Simon; Cowabunga! It's Triplets; New Straits Times (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia); Oct 24, 2010.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Most people are mirrors, reflecting the moods and emotions of the times; few are windows, bringing light to bear on the dark corners where troubles fester. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. -Sydney J. Harris, journalist and author (1917-1986)

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