Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Word of the Day

Yesterday's word of the day is shunpike\SHUN-pyke\n. 1: a side road used to avoid the toll on or the speed and traffic of a superhighway.

Example Sentence: When people request directions to our house, I ask them if they prefer to take the turnpike or the shunpike.

Did you know? America's love affair with the automobile and the development of a national system of superhighways (along with the occasional desire to seek out paths less-traveled) is a story belonging to the 20th century. So the word "shunpike," too, must be a 20th-century phenomenon, right? Nope. Toll roads have actually existed for centuries (the word "turnpike" has meant "tollgate" since at least 1678). In fact, toll roads were quite common in 19th-century America, and "shunpike" has been describing side roads since the middle of that century, almost half a century before the first Model T rolled out of the factory.

My use: I take the shunpike whenever possible. I like to take the road less traveled.

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