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Feb 24, 2014
This week's theme
Words derived from hand

This week's words
manumit
chiral
handsel
mano a mano
palmer

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Although a chiropractor and a surgeon may not see eye to eye, they do have something in common. They both are hand-workers, etymologically speaking. The two words take birth from Greek chiro- (hand) which, even though it's not immediately obvious, does appear in the word surgeon (archaic spelling: chirurgeon).

There are dozens of hand-related idioms that are part of the English language: from being hand in glove with someone to hand-me-down clothes; from handmaidens in a court to deckhands on a ship.

Some hand-derived words have gone far beyond their origins. Even though most manufacturing now takes place on automated machines and most manuscripts are now written on word processors, both these words come from Latin manus (hand).

We have enough words on hand to last a long time, but we'll have to limit them to just five words. Enjoy these hand-selected words this week, all of them with their origins in hands.

manumit

PRONUNCIATION:
(man-yuh-MIT)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To free from slavery.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin manus (hand) + mittere (to let go). Ultimately from the Indo-European root man- (hand), which also gave us manual, manage, maintain, manicure, maneuver, manufacture, manuscript, command, manure, manque, legerdemain, and mortmain. Earliest documented use: 1455.

USAGE:
"George Washington always intended to manumit those of his slaves who were his own to free (as opposed to the 'dower slaves' from his wife's estate) and he did free them in his will."
First Among Equals; The Economist (London, UK); Oct 21, 2010.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity. -Ralph Nader, activist, author, speaker, and attorney (b. 1934)

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