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May 19, 2014
This week's theme
Words coined after Shakespearean characters

This week's words
ophelian
benedict
hamlet
bardolphian
polonian

Ophelia
Ophelia
Art: Thomas Francis Dicksee, c. 1864

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Willie is one month old this week! One month and 450 years, to be precise, but what's a few hundred years here or there? Willie's favorite thing to do is to playwrite.

To celebrate his 450 and 1/12 birthday we're throwing a party. And everyone around the globe is invited. We'll celebrate by featuring words from his stories, both happy and sad. We'll pick five characters from his plays who have become words in the English language.

Ophelian

PRONUNCIATION:
(o-FEE-lee-uhn)

MEANING:
adjective: Displaying madness, suicidal tendencies, and similar characteristics.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Ophelia, a character in Shakespeare's Hamlet, who is driven to insanity and kills herself. Earliest documented use: 1903.

USAGE:
"She had an Ophelian streak of potential craziness that he had, since day one, deemed wiser to steer clear of."
Jean-Christophe Valtat; Aurorarama; Melville House; 2010.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely. -Lorraine Hansberry, playwright and painter (1930-1965)

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