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Feb 10, 2014
This week's theme
Coined words

This week's words
grok
frabjous
galumph
hobbit
newspeak
bandersnatch
doublethink

Stranger in a Strange Land
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

All fiction writers invent stories but some go so far as to invent words to help tell the tales. In his 1961 science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Anson Heinlein told the story of Valentine Michael Smith, an earthling raised by Martians on the red planet, and in the process helped us grok what it means to be human.

This week's AWAD is about words that took birth in novels, stories, and poems and are now part of the English language.

grok

PRONUNCIATION:
(grok)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To understand deeply and intuitively.

ETYMOLOGY:
Coined by Robert A. Heinlein in his science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land. Earliest documented use: 1961.

NOTES:
In Stranger in a Strange Land, Heinlein describes grok as a Martian word meaning "to drink". That's the literal meaning; however, figuratively it means to understand something in a profound way. To grok something is to be one with it in a way that the observer and the observed become merged.

USAGE:
"Well, you have to grok your plants to get good results -- get to know them as seeds and as seedlings and you'll really know them as mature plants."
Jeff Cox; Meet Your Experts in the Southeast!; Organic Gardening; Apr 1997.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
What is laid down, ordered, factual is never enough to embrace the whole truth: life always spills over the rim of every cup. -Boris Pasternak, poet and novelist (1890-1960))

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