Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word




Pronunciation RealAudio

Xanadu (ZAN-uh-doo, -dyoo) noun

An idyllic, exotic place of great luxury.

[After Xanadu, a place in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem titled Kubla Khan.]

"For many New Yorkers concerned about the use of public space, there is a more important question. Where's the sense in turning the magnificent courthouse into a Xanadu for bureaucrats and a few showcase students, with ordinary New Yorkers inevitably kept out by armed guards and signs that scream 'go away'?"
Clyde Haberman; A City Jewel In the Hands Of Mr. Cubicle; The New York Times; Mar 30, 2002.

"Although bachelor Gates is building a 37,000-square-foot Xanadu, he maintains that wealth 'loses all power to motivate once you have enough to be comfortable.'"
Tony Chiu & Nick Gallo; If People Complain; People (New York); Oct 24, 1991.

"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure-dome decree," these opening lines of Coleridge's opium-induced poem brought the word Xanadu to common currency in the English language. Xanadu (modern spelling Shang-tu) was the site of the summer home of Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, and founder of the Mongol dynasty in China. Marco Polo's travels to the East and his lofty accounts of Kublai Khan's kingdom forever marked Xanadu as a place of exotic luxury and magnificence. During the rest of this week we'll see more toponyms, words based on place names. -Anu


One can never pay in gratitude; one can only pay "in kind" somewhere else in life. -Anne Morrow Lindbergh, writer (1906-2001)

The Book:
A Word A Day is now a book. Find it in your local bookstore or at Amazon.com.

"A delightful, quirky collection." -The New York Times

Join Us:
Subscribe to A.Word.A.Day to receive it in your mailbox every day.


Bulletin board

Moderated Chat

Readers' Voice

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith