Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ



Oct 24, 2011
This week's theme
Whose what?

This week's words
fool's errand
gentlemen's agreement
dogsbody
beginner's luck
driver's seat

Have your say
on our bulletin board
Wordsmith Talk
Discuss
Feedback
RSS/XML
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

My iPad, their Toyota, her house... In a typical day we talk a lot about possessions: having things. The word possess is from Latin possidere, from potis (having the power) + sedere (to sit). So when you possess something, say a patch of earth, you have the power to sit upon it, literally speaking.

The English language has many terms about who has what. Enjoy this week's words that answer "Whose what?" but it's important to remember that the best things in life are not possessed, they are free. We don't say my ocean, his stars, or their sun.

fool's errand

PRONUNCIATION:
(foolz ER-uhnd)

MEANING:
noun: An absurd or futile undertaking.

ETYMOLOGY:
From English fool, from Latin follis (windbag, fool) + errand, from Old English aerende (message, mission). Earliest documented use: 1705.

USAGE:
"Richard Sloan adds that even attempting to find a scientific basis for a link between prayer and healing is a fool's errand."
Tyrone M. Reyes; The Power of Prayer; The Philippine Star (Manila); Mar 30, 2010.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy. -J.D. Salinger, writer (1919-2010)

A.Word.A.Day by email:

Subscribe

"The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace."

The New York Times

Sponsored by:

Give the Gift of Words

Share the magic of words. Send a gift subscription of A.Word.A.Day.

Anu on Words:
Writer Magazine
Globe & Mail

Interact:

Bulletin board
Wordsmith Talk

Moderated Chat
Wordsmith Chat

Readers' Voice
AWADmail

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 2014 Wordsmith