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Jun 6, 2017
This week’s theme
Nouns that became verbs

This week’s words
showboat
gaslight
degauss
Shakespeare
prodnose

Gaslight movie poster, 1944
Gaslight (1944)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

gaslight

PRONUNCIATION:
(GAS-lyt)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To manipulate psychologically.

ETYMOLOGY:
From the title of the classic movie Gaslight (1940 and its 1944 remake), based on author Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 play. The title refers to a man’s use of seemingly unexplained dimming of gaslights (among other tricks) in the house in an attempt to manipulate his wife into thinking she is going insane. Earliest documented use: 1969.

USAGE:
“We, the viewers, know that Jimmy is essentially gaslighting Chuck, making his own brother doubt himself.”
Matt Wilstein; ‘Better Call Saul’s’ Michael McKean on Chuck’s Devastating Downfall; The Daily Beast (New York); May 9, 2017.

See more usage examples of gaslight in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form. -William R. Inge, clergyman, scholar, and author (6 Jun 1860-1954)

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