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A.Word.A.Day--prise

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

It's good to have modern computers around that can scan thousands of lines of text in a jiffy and provide quick fixes with their handy spellcheck and find-and-replace features. While these electronic beasts are useful to keep our wayward fingers in check and take care of the resulting typos that creep in, they're no substitute for human eyeballing. Stories abound where the careless application of a spellchecker has caused embarrassment or worse.

This week's words all give a hissy fit to the spellchecker. You could use them to your advantage: to defeat your opponents in a game of Scrabble, for example. These words appear to be misspellings of common words but they are fully accredited, licensed, certified words from a dictionary -- as official as any word can be in the English language.

prise (pryz) verb tr.

1. To force open or part something with a lever.

2. To extract information from someone with difficulty.

noun

A lever.

[From Old French prise, from Latin prehendere (to seize). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ghend-/ghed- (to seize or to take) that is also the source of pry, prey, spree, reprise, surprise, pregnant, osprey, prison, and get.]

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

-Anu Garg (garg wordsmith.org)

"Using three tyre levers, [Jessica] Jonsson worked her way round the rim prising the tyre loose." Kristin Edge; The Spannergirl; The Daily Post (Rotorua, New Zealand); Nov 15, 2006.

X-Bonus

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -Wernher von Braun, rocket engineer (1912-1977)

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