Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sphinctersayswhat?

If I need a dictionary for a dictionary's word of the day, then I don't really need the word of the day.

On October 12, I received the following from the
Merriam-Webster Word of the Day:

gnomic \NOH-mik\ adjective

*1 : characterized by aphorism
2 : given to the composition of aphoristic writing

Example sentence:
The poet Emily Dickinson, who wrote "Tell all the Truth but tell it slant," is known for her highly individualistic, gnomic style.

Did you know?
A gnome is an aphorism — that is, an observation or sentiment reduced to the form of a saying. Gnomes are sometimes couched in metaphorical or figurative language, they are often quite clever, and they are always concise. We borrowed the word "gnome" in the 16th century from the Greeks, who based their "gnome" on the verb "gign?skein," meaning "to know." (That other "gnome" — the dwarf of folklore — comes from New Latin and is unrelated to today's word.) We began using "gnomic," the adjective form of "gnome," in the early 19th century. It describes a style of writing (or sometimes speech) characterized by pithy phrases, which are often terse to the point of mysteriousness.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.
OH ... APHORISM. Well, duh. And of course, "it describes a style of writing characterized by pithy phrases, which are often terse to the point of mysterious."

Maybe this word of the day was meant to be ironically gnomic?

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