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Word of the Day, January 10, 2017

January 10, 2017



Word of the Day

parhelion 

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Definition: (noun) A bright spot sometimes appearing on either side of the sun, often on a luminous ring or halo.
Synonyms: sundog, mock sun
Usage: At first, Sue thought the bright spot in the sky beside the sun was a comet, but she soon realized that the phenomenon was actually a parhelion.

Idiom of the Day

hoist by (one's) own petard

To be injured, ruined, or defeated by one's own action, device, or plot that was intended to harm another; to have fallen victim to one's own trap or schemes. (Note: "hoist" in this instance is the simple past-tense of the archaic form of the verb, "hoise.") More...

Article of the Day

The Bâton Percé

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Because archeologists are unsure of its original function, they now use the descriptive term bâton percé, meaning "pierced rod," to refer to this type of prehistoric artifact. Made from a length of antler with a round hole in one end and often etched with designs, the bâton percé was originally believed to be a symbol of power. Later theories suggest it may have been a fertility symbol, arrow straightener, dress fastener, calendar, or spear thrower. How was the latter theory tested?
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Daily Grammar Lesson

Adverbs

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An adverb refers to any element in a sentence used to modify a verb, adjective, another adverb, or even an entire clause. What is an adverbial?
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This Day in History

London Underground Begins Operation (1863)

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The world's first subway line opened in London in 1863. It was 3.75 mi (6 km) long and soon carried tens of thousands of passengers each day—transporting 9.5 million in its first year. Initially steam-powered, the system first electrified some of its lines in 1890. By 1896, it was fully electrified. Today, the London Underground system is one of the largest in the world, with 256 miles (410 km) of track and 270 stations. How many passengers did it carry on January 10, 1863?
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Today's Birthday

George Edward Foreman (1949)

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A high school dropout, Foreman learned to box in the Job Corps. He won the Olympic heavyweight gold medal in 1968 and beat Joe Frazier for the world heavyweight crown in 1973. He won all 40 of his professional bouts—many by knockout—before losing to Muhammad Ali in the "Rumble in the Jungle." He retired to be a minister in 1977 but launched a comeback in 1987 and became the world's oldest heavyweight champ in 1994. After naming his first four sons "George," what did Foreman name his fifth son?
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Today's Holiday

Benin National Vodoun Day

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Vodoun is an ancient, African, pantheistic religion. When it was brought to the Americas by African slaves, it was blended with elements of Christianity into what is known as "Voodoo." The present African country of Benin, situated on the former kingdom of Dahomey, is known as a center of Vodoun culture. This day is celebrated throughout Benin with processions, Vodoun rituals, dances, and even an international film festival. The celebration's central activity, however, is the re-enactment of the journey from the slave auction block in the center of town to the ships in the harbor.
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Quote of the Day

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Pleasures are more beneficial than duties, because, like the quality of mercy, they are not strained, and they are twice blest.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

In the News

In England, You Can Camp in Abandoned Medieval Churches

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Throughout Southeast England, a small batch of modern pilgrims have been traveling to visit and sleep in ancient churches. They're not necessarily seeking a religious experience—rather, they are part of a modern movement called champing, a portmanteau ...
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