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A.Word.A.Day--swivet

Pronunciation RealAudio

swivet (SWIV-it) noun

A state of anxiety, discomposure or agitation; tizzy. (Usually used in the phrase "in a swivet".)

[Of unknown origin.]

"Scientists were in a swivet last month when they learned that Butterfields, a San Francisco-based auction house, was putting the 200-million-year-old fossil, a glider with the wingspan of a large dragonfly, up for sale." Happy Landings for Flying Fossil; Science (Washington, DC); Sep 8, 2000.

"Filmmakers are in another swivet over high costs in New York City and prohibitive rules." Liz Smith; Hoffman the Perfectionist is Hard at Work on `Billy Bathgate'; Orange County Register (Santa Ana, California); Nov 26, 1990.

Order is good. Mostly. It makes sure that the earth will go around the sun in the same way as it has in the past and bring the summer to ripen the mangoes. Patterns are good too - most of the time. They help us find our shoes easily among an array of other pairs.

But if we stick too much to the same order and pattern, we lose. We lose the opportunity to discover new lands, new paths, new flowers, new ways (and new words!). Sometimes the break in order is by choice and at times it's forced, as when you lose a job. Often it's a blessing in disguise. It's an opportunity to explore and discover what remained hidden from the old path.

This week's words have no order, pattern or theme. They just are. But they're all interesting.

garg AT wordsmith.org

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