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Feb 6, 2017
This week’s theme
Eponyms

This week’s words
gnathonic
bovarism
Mrs. Grundy
struwwelpeter
gargantua

A portrait of Terrence
Alleged portrait of Terrence
Image: Codex Vaticanus Latinus 3868/Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Once in a while you read a book, the book is finished, the story has ended, but a character from the story stays with you. Have you come across such a character?

While you're thinking about it, I want you to meet five characters from fiction who have become words in the English language. Such words, coined after someone, are known as eponyms, from Greek ep- (after) + -onym (name).

gnathonic

PRONUNCIATION:
(na-THON-ik)

MEANING:
adjective: Sycophantic.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Gnatho, a sycophant in the comedy Eunuchus (The Eunuch) by the Roman playwright Terence, written in 161 BCE. The name is coined from the Greek word gnathos (jaw). The subject of Gnatho’s flattery, Thraso, has also given a word to the English language: thrasonical. Earliest documented use: 1637.

USAGE:
“‘Both your parties’ candidates are gnathonic toward big business,’ he said.”
John Worsley Simpson; Election Enhances Word Power of All Political Parties; National Post (Canada); Jul 3, 2004.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The tragedy in the lives of most of us is that we go through life walking down a high-walled lane with people of our own kind, the same economic situation, the same national background and education and religious outlook. And beyond those walls, all humanity lies, unknown and unseen, and untouched by our restricted and impoverished lives. -Florence Luscomb, architect and suffragist (6 Feb 1887-1985)

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