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Today's Word



Aug 22, 2022
This week’s theme
Movies that became words

This week’s words
groundhog day
King Kong
Mad Max

Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day, 1993
Poster: Columbia Pictures / Wikimedia

Previous week’s theme
Words that aren’t what they appear to be
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with Anu Garg

Recently, I came across a sign in big bold letters that said: “Total Attrition”. Must be the latest Hollywood movie, I figured.
"Total Attrition"

Looking closer, I realized it was a store that promoted weight loss. Now the name made sense, but isn’t total attrition a bit extreme?

Well, I took a picture of the sign and kept walking. Soon I learned that reality is more prosaic. It was a store named “Total Nutrition”. Leave it to a tree to get in the way of total nutrition.

I still think the “Total Attrition” idea has merit. Until that film comes out, we’ll look at five terms inspired by actual movie titles that are now a part of the English language.

What movie titles do you use as metaphors? What movie titles would you like to see become a part of the language? Share below or email us at words@wordsmith.org. As always, include your location (city, state).

groundhog day

(GRAUND-hog day)

noun: A situation in which events are repeated as if in a loop, especially when such events are of a tedious or monotonous nature.

After the 1993 film Groundhog Day in which the lead character, a television weatherman, relives a day in a time loop. Earliest documented use: 1994.

Groundhog Day is observed every year on Feb 2 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The day is named after a superstitious belief that if a groundhog sees his shadow, that is, if that day is sunny, there will be six more weeks of winter. If that particular day is cloudy instead, it would mean an early spring. In reality, the success rate would be higher if they just tossed a coin instead of abusing the animal in a vapid ceremony.
The film Groundhog Day shows a TV weatherman on an assignment to cover Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney where he discovers that he is caught in a time loop, where every day he wakes up is a Groundhog Day.

“Giaan Rooney: There are no two days that are the same ... and that’s what I needed after the groundhog day experience of a swimming career.”
Lisa Mayoh; Pandemic Pause; The Daily Telegraph (Surry Hills, Australia); Jul 23, 2022.

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

"Do you ever read any of the books you burn?" "That's against the law!" "Oh. Of course." -Ray Bradbury, science-fiction writer (22 Aug 1920-2012)

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