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Apr 14, 2015
This week’s theme
Words related to books

This week’s words
colophon
recto
bibliogony
codex
opisthograph

recto and verso
For books read left to right, e.g. in English
recto and verso, right to left
For books read right to left, e.g. in Arabic

Illustration: Tim K/Wikimedia Commons

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

recto

PRONUNCIATION:
(REK-toh)

MEANING:
noun: The front of a leaf, the side that is to be read first.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin recto folio (right-hand leaf), from rectus (right). Ultimately from the Indo-European reg- (to move in a straight line, lead, or rule) that is also the source of regent, regime, direct, rectangle, erect, rectum, alert, source, surge, arrogate, abrogate, regent, and supererogatory. Earliest documented use: 1789.

NOTES:
In languages that are written left-to-right, such as English, recto is the right-hand page. In languages written right-to-left, such as Arabic, recto is the left-hand page. The other side is called verso.

USAGE:
“The foot of the opening recto displays an unframed heraldic device: the royal arms of England.”
The Opicius Poems; Renaissance Quarterly (New York); Sep 2002.

See more usage examples of recto in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
A book, once it is printed and published, becomes individual. It is by its publication as decisively severed from its author as in parturition a child is cut off from its parent. The book "means" thereafter, perforce, -- both grammatically and actually, -- whatever meaning this or that reader gets out of it. -James Branch Cabell, novelist, essayist, critic (14 Apr 1879-1958)

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