Monday, June 7, 2010

Word of the Day 6/7/2010

Balletomane (noun): a devotee of ballet

Example Sentence: Balletomanes across the country eagerly bought tickets to the famous ballerina's final performance.

Did you know?: If you suspected that "balletomane" originated with the idea of a "mania" for ballet, you are correct. What you may not have guessed is that the language that inspired English speakers to borrow the word in the 1930s was Russian. "Balletomane" derives from the Russian noun "baletoman," which in turn combines the word for "ballet" ("balet") and the suffix "-man," from "maniya" (meaning "mania"). The English words "mania" and "ballet" did not, however, come from Russian. ("Mania" comes from Latin and Greek, and "ballet" comes from French and Italian.) "Balletomane" is therefore somewhat unusual, both for its Russian origins and for the fact that it does not follow the more traditional "-phile" model for words meaning "someone who likes a specified thing."

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

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