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A.Word.A.Day--pernicious

Pronunciation RealAudio

pernicious (pur-NISH-uhs) adjective

Causing great harm; deadly; wicked.

[From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin perniciosus, from pernicies (complete destruction), from per- (thoroughly) + nici-, from nex (destruction).]

"As for yourself, (continued the King), who have spent the greatest Part of your Life in Travelling, I am well disposed to hope you may hitherto have escaped many Vices of your Country. But by what I have gathered from your own Relation, and the Answers I have with much Pain wringed and extorted from you, I cannot but conclude the Bulk of your Natives to be the most pernicious Race of little odious Vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the Surface of the Earth." Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (Part II: A Voyage to Brobdingnag), 1726.

This week's theme: Words from Gulliver's Travels.

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Sad is his lot, who, once at least in his life, has not been a poet. -Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine, poet, statesman (1790-1869)

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