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Aug 22, 2005
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Miscellaneous words

This week's words

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A.Word.A.Day subscribers read this newsletter for many different reasons. For some, it's the joy of learning fascinating stories of the origins of words or their etymologies. For others, it's discovering unusual words, whether it's their meanings or sounds or spelling.

Many, especially students, read it to grow their vocabulary for one of the many standardized tests or for personal enrichment. Those readers sometimes write back to say, "OK, so this word petrichor is interesting, but I'd like to see words that I can use more often in my daily life."

Each word featured in AWAD includes examples taken from newspapers, magazines, and books to illustrate it and to show that it has been used in the real world.

Still, we take their point. This week we present words you might encounter in your next test.


(pruh-PISH-uhs) Pronunciation RealAudio

1. Presenting favorable conditions.
2. Favorably inclined; kindly.

From Middle English propicius, from Latin propitius, ultimately from Indo-European root pet- (to rush, fly). Other words from this root are feather, pin, impetus, and pinnacle.

"Foreign aid had a propitious effect on growth in poorer developing countries in the 1960s and on middle-income countries in the 1970s."
Girish P Pant; Aid and Growth; Kathmandu Post (Nepal); Jul 15, 2005.

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


You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions. -Naguib Mahfouz, writer (1911-2006)

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