Saturday, October 23, 2004

the dictionary has an argosy of definitions

merriam-webster's word-of-the-day for october 23 has prima facie sweet classical connections, but a surprising etymology:

argosy \AHR-guh-see\ noun

1 : a large ship; especially : a large merchant ship
*2 : a rich supply

Example sentence:
Uncle Ken is always armed with an argosy of jokes, and he keeps the family entertained for hours.

Did you know?
Looking at the first sense of "argosy," you might assume that this word is a close relative of "argonaut," but that isn't the case. Although both words have a nautical sense, they have different etymologies. The original argonauts sailed on a ship called the Argo to seek the Golden Fleece; their moniker combines the name of their ship and the Greek word "naut─ôs," meaning "sailor." "Argosy" comes from Arragosa, the English name for the city that is now Dubrovnik, Croatia. Over time, the Italian name of the town, Ragusa, was gradually modified into a noun for the laden merchant ships that sailed from that port in medieval days, and later still into one denoting any merchant vessel or rich store.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.


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