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Nov 25, 2013
This week's theme
Words that arose from cartoons

This week's words
curate's egg
gerrymander
McCarthyism
Rube Goldberg
blimp

Curate's egg
Curate's egg
Cartoon: George du Maurier

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

New words come from everywhere. From novels and poems. From science and technology. And beyond.

For example, many words have entered the language from cartoons and comics. When you call a Master's in gastronomy program "a Mickey Mouse degree" (source) or when you say that Senate candidate "Booker is a superman" (source), you are invoking characters from cartoons and comics to make your point.

This week we're going to look at terms that have their origins in cartoons or were popularized by them. These terms come from both sides of the pond.

curate's egg

PRONUNCIATION:
(KYOOR-itz eg)

MEANING:
noun: Something having both good and bad parts.

ETYMOLOGY:
From a cartoon in Punch magazine (London, UK) in which a timid curate (a junior clergy member), when served a stale egg at a bishop's table, tries to assure his host that parts of the egg are edible. Earliest documented use: 1905.

USAGE:
"After another curate's egg of a performance, he, we, and probably Hodgson are none the wiser as to whether he will be in the team this time."
Glenn Moore; Michael Carrick Gives Steven Gerrard the Freedom to Roam; The Independent (London, UK); Oct 16, 2013.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration. -Andrew Carnegie, industrialist (1835-1919)

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