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Of the Day

Today's Quote
  • John Paul Jones
    "If fear is cultivated it will become stronger, if faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery."
This Day in History - HISTORY
  • Usain Bolt sets 100-meter dash world record
    On August 16, 2009, under the lights of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium at the World Championships, 22-year-old Usain Bolt strikes a lightning-bolt pose and grins before taking his mark. Then the Jamaican, already the fastest man in the world, shatters his own world record in the 100-meter dash, ...
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Today I Found Out
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day
  • litany

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 16, 2022 is:

    litany • \LIT-uh-nee\  • noun

    Litany refers to a usually lengthy recitation or enumeration of something, such as a set of complaints, names, or questions. It can also be used to refer to a sizeable series or set, which may or may not be spoken aloud, as when a drug has "a litany of possible side effects."

    // Among the television critic’s litany of complaints about the new series is the anachronistic costume design.

    See the entry >

    Examples:

    “As soon as Mahershala Ali, the previous year’s supporting-actor winner for 'Green Book,' escorted her behind the curtain, [Laura] Dern made a straight line to the thank-you cam to rattle off a litany of names.” — Anthony Breznican, Vanity Fair, 23 Apr. 2021

    Did you know?

    How do we love the word litany? Let us count the ways. We love its original 13th century meaning, still in use today, referring to a call-and-response prayer in which a series of lines are spoken alternately by a leader and a congregation. We love how litany has developed in the intervening centuries three figurative senses, and we love each of these as well: first, a sense meaning “repetitive chant”; next, the “lengthy recitation” sense owing to the repetitious—and sometimes interminable—nature of the original litany; and finally, an even broader sense referring to any sizeable series or set. Though litanies of this third sort tend to be unpleasant, we choose today to think of the loveliness found in the idea of “a litany of sonnets by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.”




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