Monday, October 20, 2008


Word of the Day
Anathema (noun)
Pronunciation: [ê-'næ-thê-mê]
Definition: Formal ecclesiastical expulsion, excommunication; any strong denunciation leading to rejection or ostracism; the person (outcast) or object so reviled and denounced.
Usage: Although there is a plural for today's word (anathemas), the word is probably most widely used as a mass noun which has no plural, e.g. a word that is anathema to polite society. The adjective is "anathematic" and the verb, "anathematize."
Suggested Usage: Today's word may refer to the curse or the person cursed, "Donald has been pronounced anathema in the office since he put the goldfish in the water cooler." While terrorism is anathema to most of us, kindness is anathema to the terrorist.
Etymology: Late Latin anathema "doomed offering, accursed thing" from Greek anathema "evil, accursed thing," the noun from anatithenai, anathe- "to dedicate" based on ana- "up, back, anew"+ tithenai "to put." The original meaning was "an offering, gift to the temple." From the original root *dhe/dho- "set, put," also the origin of English "do" (German "tun") and related words: "doom," "deed," "deem," and many more. In Latin, the initial [dh] became [f], hence Latin facere "do, make" and French "faire" from it. Russian dumat' "think" and Duma "parliament" are probably based on the same root borrowed from a Germanic language.

1 comment:

  1. New word for me, I am going to have to try to use this sometime today.