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May 24, 2021
This week’s theme
High-scoring words in Scrabble

This week’s words
chutzpah
quixotry
blowzy
quincunx
whizbang

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

It’s a game that sometimes needs a little chutzpah to win. What game am I talking about?

Scrabble! The word chutzpah is a full 27 points, not counting any double/triple word/letter scores.

There are some high-scoring words that are playable in Scrabble, but by themselves they are not very interesting.
  • Names of drugs like Oxyphenbutazone (41 points) or Oxazepam (28)
    Should we place tiles in the form of the molecular structures then?

  • Words such as quizzify (41)
    I’d argufy that we banish such -fy*king words.

  • Words such as za (11)
    Fine to use them in an informal chat over pizza, but in a game of Scrabble? Is nothing sacred any more?
Instead, this week we feature five words that will earn you a high score, words you may want to use outside Scrabble too.

chutzpah or chutzpa

PRONUNCIATION:
(KHOOT-spuh, HOOT-)

MEANING:
noun: Shameless boldness; brazen nerve; gall.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Yiddish khutspe, from Late Hebrew huspa. Earliest documented use: 1853.

USAGE:
“‘So the place that eschewed masks for months and organized mass rallies and White House superspreader events is going to vaccinate their staffers before we can vaccinate all of our first responders? That’s some serious chutzpah,’ tweeted Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University.”
David Jackson; Trump, Pence, Congress, Justices Will Be Offered Vaccine in Coming Days; USA Today; (McLean, Virginia); Dec 15, 2020.

“‘I wrote, and the House passed, the toughest election security reform bill to date, which then died in the Senate at Mitch McConnell’s hands,’ Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said in an email. ‘It takes a special kind of chutzpah to block every single bill to make our elections more secure and then question the legitimacy of this election.’”
Nicole Perlroth; Election Security Experts Push Back Against Trump’s Voter Fraud Claims; The New York Times; Nov 17, 2020.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Life is like a library owned by an author. In it are a few books which he wrote himself, but most of them were written for him. -Harry Emerson Fosdick, preacher and author (24 May 1878-1969)

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