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Aug 6, 2002
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False cognates

This week's words

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Pronunciation RealAudio

scission (SIZH-uhn) noun: 1. An act of cutting or dividing. 2. Division, separation.

From Middle English, from Middle French, from Late Latin scission- from scindere (to cut).

Today's word has no relation with scissors. The two words have entirely different roots. Scissors ultimately came from cisorium (cutting tool) though on the way it became influenced by the root of today's word.

"Suddenly, appetite is no longer quite part of me - or yes, it is, but a potential enemy, too. A scission is taking place."
Tim Parks; Growing Pains; The Independent (London); Jun 28, 1997.

"If they would but dispassionately weigh the blessings they will throw away, against an abstract principle more likely to be effected by union than by scission, they would pause before they would perpetrate this act of suicide on themselves, and of treason against the hopes of the world."
Thomas Jefferson; Letter to John Holmes; Monticello; Apr 22, 1820.


It's a shallow life that doesn't give a person a few scars. -Garrison Keillor, radio host and author (1942- )

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