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Jan 16, 2017
This week’s theme
Words borrowed from other languages

This week’s words
satori
hegira
pronunciamento
bobbery
camorra

satori
Image: Erin Silversmith/Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

The writer H.L. Mencken once said, “A living language is like a man suffering incessantly from small hemorrhages, and what it needs above all else is constant transfusions of new blood from other tongues. The day the gates go up, that day it begins to die.”

He might as well be talking about a community, a culture, or a country.

The reason English is such a rich language is that it’s not afraid to adopt words from other places. It has welcomed words from everywhere. If you speak English, you know parts of at least a hundred different languages.

This week we’ll see five words that came to English from Japanese, Arabic, Spanish, Hindi, and Italian.

satori

PRONUNCIATION:
(suh-TOR-ee)

MEANING:
noun: Sudden enlightenment or intuitive understanding.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Japanese satori (understanding), from satoru (to know or understand). Earliest documented use: 1727.

USAGE:
“Twenty years later, Michael Okun’s enthusiasm is fresh as he describes his neurological satori. ‘A lot of people were saying all these pathways and everything are really complicated, and they just wanted to get through the class and get a grade. But to me it made perfect sense.’”
David Noonan; Mind Craft; Smithsonian; May 2014.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Be kind to thy father, for when thou wert young, / Who loved thee so fondly as he? / He caught the first accents that fell from thy tongue, / And joined in thy innocent glee. -Margaret Courtney, poet (1822-1862)

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