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A.Word.A.Day--Job's comforter

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

This week's theme: Whose what?

Job's comforter (johbz KUM-fuhr-tuhr) noun

A person who tries to console or help someone and not only fails but ends up making the other feel worse.

[Originally there was not just one, but three Job's comforters. In the Biblical story these people tried to console Job, an upright person, that his troubles must be divine retribution for his sins.

There are Job's comforters in current times as well: soon after any disaster these TV preachers are ready to explain how the afflicted had offended gods and brought it upon themselves.]

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

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"Parting with my son William this past June was difficult. He was going abroad to study language for two semesters.
'I don't know why I feel so sad,' I told my husband. 'I just feel as if he is going to the other side of the world.'
'He is,' said my husband in his role as Job's comforter. 'That's where China is.'"
Julia McCue; Full of Great People ; Portland Press Herald (Maine); Feb 13, 2005.


Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right. -Martin Luther King, Jr., civil-rights leader (1929-1968)

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