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Jan 27, 2012
This week's theme
Words from the Mediterranean

This week's words
argosy
paladin
damascene
sybarite
gascon

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Next week's theme
Dickensian characters that became words
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

gascon

PRONUNCIATION:
(GAS-kuhn)

MEANING:
noun: A braggart.
adjective: Boastful.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Gascon, a native of the Gascony region in France, from the stereotype of Gascons as boasters. Earliest documented use: before 1771.

NOTES:
Were people from Gascony full of boasts and bravado? Not necessarily. Historical rivalries lead one people to generalize others' names as having some shortcoming and some of those names become part of the language. Other examples of such words are solecism, Boeotian, and fescennine.

USAGE:
"Here indeed the King of Cornwall plays the gascon, not the King of Little Britain."
John Wesley Hales and Frederick James Furnivall (eds.); Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript: Ballads and Romances; 1867.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines. -Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

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