Thursday, August 12, 2010

Word of the Day 8/12/2010

Dog Days (noun)
*1 : the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere
2 : a period of stagnation or inactivity

Example Sentence:
"In the sapping heat of the dog days, everyone is at the beach or relaxing on the porch with iced tea." (Barbara Damrosch, Washington Post, July 15, 2010)

Did you know?:Dogs aren’t the only creatures uncomfortable in oppressive heat, so why does a dog get singled out in "dog days"? The dog here is actually the Dog Star, which is also called "Sirius." The star has long been associated with sultry weather in the northern hemisphere because it rises simultaneously with the sun during the hottest days of summer. In the ancient Greek constellation system, this star (called "Seirios" in Greek) was considered the hound of the hunter Orion and was given the epithet "Kyon," meaning “dog.” The Greek writer Plutarch referred to the hot days of summer as "hÄ“merai kynades" (literally, "dog days"), and a Latin translation of this expression as "dies caniculares" is the source of our English phrase.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

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