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Jul 6, 2009
This week's theme
Words with three letters in alphabetic sequence

This week's words
defenestrate
limnology
panoply
somnolent
Sturm und Drang

Today's word in
Visual Thesaurus

Defenestrate!
Defenestration
Artist: Adolf Liebscher

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

I've been alerted to an event that will take place later this week, something that happens once every millennium. Shortly after noon on July 8, comes the moment that can be called 12:34:56 7/8/9. To mark this momentous event, this week we'll feature words that have three consecutive letters in order, something that doesn't happen very often either (there are hundreds of everyday words, but we are talking here about unusual and interesting words).

It's not exactly true that this sequence of time/date happens only once. If you follow the day/month/year convention, you can observe the same sequence next month, on August 7. And even though it appears to be a rare occurrence, such interesting patterns aren't that unusual. Consider these from the past:
01:23:45 6/7/89
12:34.56 7/8/90
01:02:03 04/05/06
In a couple of years we'll have 11:11:11 11/11/11. What other unusual patterns can you think of that are in the near future?

defenestrate

PRONUNCIATION:
(dee-FEN-uh-strayt)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To throw someone or something out of a window.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin de- (out of) + fenestra (window).

NOTES:
There have been many defenestrations over the course of history, but the most famous, and the one that inspired the word defenestration, was the Defenestration of Prague on May 23, 1618. Two imperial regents and their secretary were thrown out of a window of the Prague Castle in a fight over religion. The men landed on a dung heap and survived. The Defenestration of Prague was a prelude to the Thirty Years' War.
See a Lego sculpture of the Defenestration of Prague. Also, check out the defenestration of various articles of furniture in this unique San Francisco sculpture.

USAGE:
"When someone in a Joe Lansdale novel is defenestrated, you feel like shaking the glass shards out of your lap."
Jeff Salamon; The Further Adventures of Hap and Leonard; The Austin American-Statesman (Texas); Jul 4, 2009 .

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. -Reinhold Niebuhr, theologian (1892-1971)

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