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Nov 24, 2011
This week's theme
Words borrowed from languages that are now extinct

This week's words
cacique
wampum
pharaoh
mantissa
dragoman

A tablet with Etruscan inscription, Cortona, Italy
A tablet with Etruscan inscription, Cortona, Italy

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

mantissa

PRONUNCIATION:
(man-TIS-uh)

MEANING:
noun:
1. An addition of little importance.
2. The decimal part of a logarithm or the positive fractional part of a number.

ETYMOLOGY:
Via Latin mantisa/mantissa (makeweight, something put in a scale to complete a needed weight), from a now extinct language, Etruscan, once spoken in what is now Tuscany, Italy. Earliest documented use: 1641.

USAGE:
"Are we supposed to think that most criticism of Mr. John Fowles is a mantissa?"
John Leonard; Books of the Times; The New York Times; Aug 31, 1982.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
To cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)

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