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A.Word.A.Day--esemplastic

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esemplastic (es-em-PLAS-tik) adjective

Having the capability of moulding diverse ideas or things into unity.

[From Greek es- (into) + en, neuter of eis (one) + plastic. Coined by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), apparently after German Ineinsbildung (forming into one)].

Here is how Coleridge used the term in his 1817 Biographia Literaria or Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions. Vol. I, Chapter 13:

On the imagination, or esemplastic power. O Adam! one Almighty is, from whom All things proceed, and up to him return If not depraved from good: created all Such to perfection, one first nature all Indued with various forms, various degrees.

"Admirers of (A.N.) Wilson, and I have been one of them, may console themselves by speculating that he just got impatient, or tired. Or that a minor demon, in a snit over his prolific output and ambitious subject matter, cast a temporary malediction on his esemplastic powers of fiction-making." Gail Godwin, Losing It All, The Washington Post, Jan 23, 1994.

Like a house of cards, Enron corporation came down a few weeks ago. Its bankruptcy proceedings opened what may turn out to be a Pandora's box for more than just the corporation itself. Journalists are using the freshly minted term Enronomics to describe this corporation's brand of economics and accounting: off-the-record dealings, cooking books, and number sorcery that led to its rise and crash. Creative accounting has been going on for ages but it seems that Enron perfected it.

Whether the term enronomics sticks, only time will tell. But this is a good example of how new words are coined. Some weather the test of time and get anointed into the venerated pages of dictionaries, while others fade like last year's fashion.

This week's AWAD features five words, all coined by people, that have stuck around. Those who brought these expressions to life are a diverse lot. We'll see inventions of a poet, a cartoonist, a zoologist, and two journalists during the next five days. -Anu

X-Bonus

So many gods, so many creeds, So many paths that wind and wind, While just the art of being kind is all the sad world needs. -Ella Wheeler Wilcox, poet (1850-1919)

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