Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Word of the Day

palmary\PAL-muh-ree\adj. 1: outstanding, best

Example Sentence: Louis Pastiur is best known for originating pasteurization, but he also made palmary contributions in the field of immunology, including finding a vaccination for anthrax.

Did you know? English speaker have been using "palmary" since the 1600s, and its history stretches back even furtyer than that. It was the ancient Romans who first used their "palmarius" to describe someone or something extraordinary. "Palmarius" literally translates as "deserving the palm." But what does that mean exactly? Was it inspired by palms of hands coming together in applause? That would be a good guess, but the direst inspiration for "palmarius" was the palm leaf given to a victor in a sports competition. That other palm, the one on the hand, is loosely related. The Romans thought the palm tree's leaves resembled an outstretched palm of the hand; they thus used their word "palma" for both meanings, just as we do with "palm" in English.

My use: I did a palmary job cleaning my house yesterday!

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