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Jan 12, 2010
This week's theme
Words relating to religion

This week's words
sacerdotal
precatory
vatic
canonical
eremite
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

precatory

PRONUNCIATION:
(PREK-uh-tor-ee)

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Expressing a request.
2. Nonbinding: only expressing a wish or giving a suggestion.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin precari (to pray). Ultimately from the Indo-European root prek- (to ask) that is also the source of words such as pray, precarious, deprecate, and postulate.

USAGE:
"Even worse, [the proposed amendment] is a deception because it amounts to nothing more than a precatory expression of pious hope."
Robert C. Byrd; A Hollow and Dangerous Promise; The Washington Post; Oct 31, 1993.

"'The laws are precatory as opposed to mandatory,' said Scott Sommer, 'They say the city "may", rather than "shall", enforce the housing code.'"
Deborah Sontag; A Weak Housing Agency Seems to Be a Step Behind; The New York Times; Oct 7, 1996.

See more usage examples of precatory in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings -- always darker, emptier, and simpler. -Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)

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