Challenging Word of the Week: Jugulate

One of my favorite books to flip through is “1000 Most Challenging Words” by Norman W. Schur, ©1987 by the Ballantine Reference Library, Random House. The author not only defines and describes difficult words, but does so in a humorous way that makes me eager to work the word into conversation (or a blog post). Unfortunately, the book now appears to be out of print (although Amazon was able to eventually find a slightly-used edition for me after I lost my original copy.)

I thought I might start a weekly “Challenging Words” post to call more attention to this delightful book and promote interesting word usage in the blogosphere. I challenge other bloggers to work each word into post sometime in the coming week. If you manage to do so, please drop me a link or trackback so I can be sure to check it out.

This week’s word:

Jugulate
(JOOH gyuh late) verb

To jugulate someone is to cut his throat or strangle him, both rather unpleasant procedures and obviously related (etymologically, not sociologically) to the jugular vein. But the word has a figurative and much more merciful use: to check or suppress by drastic measures, usually applied in medical parlance to the treatment of diseases. One case might be the amputation of an affected part, often the leg. Putting a gag into the mouth of a logorrhea sufferer would be less drastic, but might do the trick. Jugulate comes from Latin jugulatus, past participle of jugulare (to cut the throat of), based on jugulum (throat).

From the book, “1000 Most Challenging Words” by Norman W. Schur, ©1987 by the Ballantine Reference Library, Random House.

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