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Sep 16, 2013
This week's theme
Words derived from goats

This week's words
tragus
chimera
aegis
chevron
chagal

goats: Smurf & Shakira
Smurf & Shakira, our guest lawn mowers

tragus
Pierce tragus with jewelry

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

I had been busy and the grass had grown tall in the backyard. If a prince had stumbled in, he might have fully expected a Sleeping Beauty dormant for the last 100 years while everything around had continued to grow.

My daughter Ananya had an idea. Why not get her friend Cristina to lend us a couple of goats from her large array of animals? What are friends for? One morning, Cristina dropped off Shakira and Smurf, two of their many goats.

Our backyard guests soon got busy. As I typed on the keyboard, I looked out the window at the hircine grazers. I'm sure they appreciated the bounty of lush grass we offered them, but I was even more grateful to them.

I got to thinking about words derived from goats. Goatee and scapegoat are obvious ones, but there are many more, such as tragedy (literally, goat song) and butcher (literally, slaughterer of goats).

This week we'll celebrate these much-maligned mammals (see hircine) with words coined after them.

tragus

PRONUNCIATION:
(TRAY-guhs)

MEANING:
noun: The small fleshy projection at the front of the external ear, slightly extending over the opening of the ear.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek tragos (goat; hairy part of the ear), from the supposed resemblance of the tuft of hair at the opening of the ear to a goat's beard. The word is sometimes also applied to this hair growing in the ear. Earliest documented use: 1684.

USAGE:
"Rich Lee, a 34-year-old American, had magnets implanted in the tragus ... that act as speakers when combined with a coil necklace."
I've Got You Under My Skin; Independent (South Africa); Aug 7, 2013.

"Vince leaned over to his left, caught a streetlight glint off Sarah's ringed tragus-piercing."
Michael Keys; Black Paper Dream; AuthorHouse; 2013.

See more usage examples of tragus in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. -Harper Lee, writer (b. 1926)

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