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Jul 31, 2015
This week’s theme
Words borrowed from Hebrew

This week’s words
tohubohu
behemoth
leviathan
manna
gehenna

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

gehenna

PRONUNCIATION:
(gi-HEN-uh)

MEANING:
noun:
1. Hell.
2. Any place of extreme torture or suffering.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin gehenna, from Greek Geenna, from Hebrew ge-hinnom (hell), literally, the valley of Hinnom, or from ge ben Hinnom (valley of the son of Hinnom). It’s not clear who this Hinnom fellow was. In the Bible, the valley was known as a place of child sacrifice. Ultimately, this word is from the same Semitic root that gave Arabic jahannam (hell) which, in Hindi, became jahannum. Earliest documented use: 1594.

USAGE:
“We lived peacefully and happily, but now our house has turned into a Gehenna.”
Isaac Metzker; A Bintel Brief; Doubleday; 1971.

“Just as I was preparing to set the back deck on fire to get some warmth in the house, all Gehenna broke loose on the news.”
Today’s Advice; Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Maine); Feb 9, 2013.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Trust is the first step to love. -Munshi Premchand, novelist and poet (31 Jul 1880-1936)

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