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Jul 23, 2007
This week's theme
Unusual words used in famous quotations

This week's words

“There is no material with which human beings work which has so much potential energy as words.” ~Earnest Calkins
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with Anu Garg

Guest Wordsmith Fred Shapiro (fred.shapiro yale.edu) writes:

My recently published book, The Yale Book of Quotations (Yale University Press), is intended to supplant Bartlett's Familiar Quotations and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations as the most authoritative quotation dictionary. It is the first major quotation book to emphasize modern sources, including popular culture, children's literature, sports, computers, politics, and law.

The Yale Book of Quotations is also the first quotation book of any sort to use state-of-the-art research methods to comprehensively collect famous quotations and to trace quotations to their accurate origins. The Yale Book of Quotations includes hundreds of very famous and popular quotations omitted from other quotation dictionaries, and corrects the standard accounts of how many important quotations originated.

(This week's Guest Wordsmith Fred Shapiro is a librarian and lecturer at the Yale Law School. Anu Garg is traveling.)


(an-ik-DO-tij) Pronunciation Sound Clip

1. The telling of anecdotes.
2. Anecdotes collectively.

[From Greek anekdota (things unpublished), from an- (not) + ekdidonai (to publish). Originally applied by the Greek historian Procopius to his unpublished memoirs of the Emperor Justinian and his consort Theodora.]

3. Old age characterized by excessive telling of anecdotes.

[Humorous blend of anecdote and dotage, from dote (to be foolish).]

"When a man fell into his anecdotage it was a sign for him to retire."
Benjamin Disraeli; Lothair; 1870; quoted in The Yale Book of Quotations.


Nothing produces such odd results as trying to get even. -Franklin P. Jones

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