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A.Word.A.Day--septentrion

Pronunciation RealAudio

septentrion (sep-TEN-tree-on) noun

The north.

[From Latin septentrionalis, from septentrio, singular of septentriones, originally septem triones, the seven stars of the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear, from septem (seven) and triones (a team of three plow oxen). These are the principal stars of the Great Bear, which is located in the region of the north celestial pole. These stars are more commonly perceived as the Big Dipper.]

Some other words based on septem are septemfluous, flowing in seven streams; septemplicate, one of seven copies of a document; septenary, pertaining or relating to the number seven, or forming a group of seven, as in the number of days in the week; septenate, growing in sevens, having seven divisions; and Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, from Latin septem via septuaginta, seventy, for the traditional number of translators.

"The sky is one great emerald from south to septentrion." Paul Fort; Selected Poems And Ballads; Duffield and Company; 1921. (Translator: John Strong Newberry)

"Washed by the southern sea, and on the north To equal length backed with a ridge of hills That screened the fruits of the earth and seats of men From cold Septentrion blasts." John Milton; Paradise Regained; 1671.

This week's theme: words based on numbers by guest wordsmith Stewart Edelstein.

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