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paraphernalia (par-uh-fihr-NAYL-ya, -fa-NAYL-ya) noun

1. Personal belongings.

2. The articles used in a particular activity; equipment.

3. A married woman's personal property exclusive of her dowry, according to common law.

[Medieval Latin paraphernalia, neuter pl. of paraphernalis, pertaining to a married woman's property exclusive of her dowry, from Late Latin parapherna, a married woman's property exclusive of her dowry, from Greek : para-, beyond + pherne, dowry.]

"I started the business nearly a year ago just selling posters of famous movies," he says, "Then I added the paraphernalia that accompanies every major release." Wisetpong Wongtip, 'Titanic' fever means smooth sailing for city vendors, The Nation, Feb 2, 1998.

This week's theme: words with unusual etymologies.


The words of truth are always paradoxical. -Lao Tzu

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