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Mar 12, 2012
This week's theme
18-letter words to mark Wordsmith.org's octodecennial

This week's words
preantepenultimate
gedankenexperiment
reductio ad absurdum
plurisignification
princesse lointaine

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

This week marks Wordsmith.org's octodecennary. It was 18 years ago on March 14, 1994, that I began what has become Wordsmith.org. It has been an enjoyable ride. Thanks for being part of it -- above anything, it's readers like you who make it what it is.

To celebrate the octodecennial, this week we'll look at a few 18-letter words.

preantepenultimate

PRONUNCIATION:
(pri-an-tee-pi-NUHL-tuh-mit)

MEANING:
adjective: Fourth from the last.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin pre- (before) + ante- (before) + pen- (almost) + ultimus (last). Earliest documented use: 1746. For another example of prefixes gone wild, see hemidemisemiquaver.

USAGE:
"Alert! You have just made it through the preantepenultimate paragraph."
A Purist's Erstwhile Latitudinarianism; The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana); Jun 29, 2002.

"The female in question ... was the preantepenultimate ex-wife of ol' Josh P."
Esther Friesner; Just Another Cowboy; Fantasy & Science Fiction (Cornwall, Connecticut); Apr 2002.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Errors like straws upon the surface flow: / Who would search for pearls must dive below. -John Dryden, poet and dramatist (1631-1700)

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