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A.Word.A.Day--Star Chamber

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Star Chamber (star CHAYM-buhr) noun

A court or group marked by arbitrary, oppressive, and secretive procedures.

[After the Star Chamber in the Palace of Westminster in London. It was the site of a closed-door court appointed by King Henry VII of England in the 15th century. Notorious for its abuse of power, it was abolished by the Long Parliament in 1641. The chamber was so named because its ceiling was decorated with stars.]

"`This is the most incredible Star Chamber proceeding, the most incredible lack of due process I've ever heard of,' Mitchelson said. `I'm the alleged perpetrator, and I was not even invited.'" Edward J. Boyer; Mitchelson Angry, Vows to Block Aid for 2 Women; The Los Angeles Times; Jan 25, 1989.

"Every time a new England football manager is appointed we wonder what his weaknesses are, because before long we shall certainly find out. The job takes men who are already exceptional achievers and tests them and tests them until such weaknesses as they have become glaringly apparent. To take the job is to enter the Star Chamber, a ruthless, searching, unpitying interrogation that lasts for years." Simon Barnes; Curse of England's Impossible Job; The Times (London, UK); Apr 26, 2002.

This week's theme: toponyms (words derived from place names).


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