Friday, 22 August 2008

A.W.A.D. - Physical Words

A popular admonition goes, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Yet we do that all the time. We ascribe qualities of character to people based on their physical characteristics. And our language takes shape to reflect that attitude. Are cross-eyed people shady? I don't think so. At least, not any more than the straight-eyed. In this week's AWAD we'll look at more of these words.

louche
PRONUNCIATION: (loosh)
MEANING: adjective: Of questionable character; dubious; disreputable.

ETYMOLOGY: From French louche (cross-eyed), from Latin lusca, feminine of luscus (one-eyed).


clochard
PRONUNCIATION: (KLOH-shahr)
MEANING: noun: A beggar; vagrant.

ETYMOLOGY: From French clocher (to limp), from Latin clopus (lame).


myopic
PRONUNCIATION: (my-OP-ik)
MEANING: adjective:
1. Nearsighted; unable to see distant objects clearly.
2. Shortsighted; lacking foresight; narrow-minded.


ETYMOLOGY: Via Latin, from Greek myopia, from myop- (nearsighted), from myein (to close) + ops (eye).


dexterous or dextrous
PRONUNCIATION: (DEK-struhs, -stuhr-uhs)
MEANING: adjective: 1. Skillful or adroit, mentally or bodily. 2. Right-handed.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin dexter (right-hand, skillful).


ambisinister
PRONUNCIATION:(am-bi-SIN-uh-stuhr)
MEANING: adjective: Clumsy with both hands. (Literally, with two left hands.)

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin ambi- (both) + sinister (on the left side).

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