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Mar 19, 2012
This week's theme
Words with multiple, unrelated meanings

This week's words
doxy
enceinte
bravo
cant
pug

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone.
"When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Alice and Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass might as well have been talking about this week's words.

While the word "set" has the largest number of meanings -- the Oxford English Dictionary has 26 pages devoted to this little three-letter word -- each of this week's hard-working words has many unrelated meanings that are interesting.

Come to think of it, Alice's one word mean can mean more than one mean word. With this week's words in AWAD Humpty Dumpty is going to have to pay a lot. Let's get our money's worth.

doxy

PRONUNCIATION:
(DOK-see)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A mistress or a promiscuous woman.
2. Opinion or doctrine.

ETYMOLOGY:
For 1: Of uncertain origin, perhaps from obsolete Dutch docke (doll). Earliest documented use: around 1530.
For 2: Back-formed from orthodoxy, heterodoxy, etc. From Greek doxa (opinion), from dokein (to think). Ultimately from the Indo-European root dek- (to take or accept), which is also the root of words such as paradox, orthodox, doctor, disciple, discipline, doctrine, dogma, decent, decorate, dignity, disdain, condign, and deign. Earliest documented use: around 1730.

USAGE:
"The arresting officer would still be filling out paperwork and the doxy would be collecting her things and heading back to the street."
Neil Steinberg; Blinded by Race; Chicago Sun-Times; Dec 31, 2008.

"In that twilight zone of the Anglican double standard, orthodoxy is really just a word for my doxy. Heterodoxy means everyone else's doxy."
Hywel Williams; Let Us All Err and Stray; The Guardian (London, UK); Jul 8, 2003.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
One unerring mark of the love of truth is not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built upon will warrant. -John Locke, philosopher (1632-1704)

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