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Dec 24, 2018
This week’s theme
No el

This week’s words
morbidezza
vociferate
juxtapose
hawkshaw
quingentenary

morbidezza
Leda and the Swan (detail), c. 1532
Art: Antonio da Correggio

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

It’s that time of the year when the letter L gets to lie down and loosen up. In this week’s words, all other letters make an appearance, they report for duty, but L gets some time off.

At least that’s what we tell it. In reality, no one is working. We are having a party sans L. Why? Because it’s a No el celebration. Joyeux Noel!

morbidezza

PRONUNCIATION:
(mor-bi-DET-suh)

MEANING:
noun: An extreme softness, smoothness, or delicacy, especially in works of art, sculpture, music, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Italian morbidezza (softness, smoothness), from morbido (soft, smooth), from Latin morbidus (diseased), from morbus (disease). Ultimately from the Indo-European root mer- (to rub away or to harm), which also gave us morsel, mordant, mortal, mortgage, nightmare, amaranth, amaranthine, daymare, mortify, premorse, and ambrosia. Earliest documented use: 1624.

USAGE:
“I accompanied them to the door; what a pretty effect the snow background gives to young faces; it lends a pretty morbidezza to the colouring, a sort of very delicate green tinge to the paler shades.”
Arthur Christopher Benson; The Altar Fire; The Floating Press; 2014.

“The four Bellini songs are all gentle, slow, melancholy melodies dripping with morbidezza.”
Charles H. Parsons; Treasures of Bel Canto; American Record Guide (Washington, DC); Mar/Apr 2016.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Where it is a duty to worship the sun, it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. -John Morley, statesman and writer (24 Dec 1838-1923)

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