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Oct 14, 2013
This week's theme
Words from diseases

This week's words
measly
anemic
sclerotic
cancerous
pestilent

Words, language & more
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

A disease puts us at dis ease. No one looks forward to being a patient (Latin pati: to endure/suffer), but no one is immune. Young, old, rich, poor, black, or white. To be healed is to be back to being whole, literally speaking.

Illness is common. It's a sign of our familiarity with the diseases that words relating to them have entered the language as metaphors. We use them in a non-medical context.

This week we'll see five terms that relate to diseases. But don't worry. Words are not fomites. You can't catch anything from these words.

measly

PRONUNCIATION:
(MEE-zlee, MEEZ-lee)

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Ridiculously small or bad.
2. Infected with measles.

ETYMOLOGY:
Initially, the word measly was used to describe a pig infected with measles, which is probably derived from Middle Dutch masel (blemish) and its spelling influenced by Middle English mesel (leprous, leprosy). Earliest documented use: 1598.

USAGE:
"This summer inmates in Argentina decided they would no longer accept measly payment for the jobs they do in prison."
Gilding the Cage; The Economist (London, UK); Aug 17, 2013.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. -Dwight D. Eisenhower, US general and 34th president (1890-1969)

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