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August 30, 2014

Word of the Day

  • cap-a-pie
  • audio pronunciation
  • \kap-uh-PEE\
  • DEFINITION

adverb

: from head to foot

  • EXAMPLE

The birthday girl—dressed cap-a-pie as a princess, from tiara to sequined slippers—waited excitedly for her guests to arrive.

"It's only in cartoons that crows have yellow beaks and feet. They are of one shade cap-a-pie, black as midnight and fleet of wing." — M. D. Harmon, Portland Press Herald (Maine), January 5, 2004

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Think of a medieval knight riding off to battle completely encased (from head to foot, as it were) in armor. Knights thus outfitted were said to be "armed cap-a-pie." The term cap-a-pie, which has been used in English since at least the 16th century, descends from the Middle French phrase de cap a pé, meaning "from head to foot." Nowadays, it is generally extended to more figurative armor, as in "armed cap-a-pie against criticism." Cap-a-pie has also been credited with parenting another English phrase. Some people think the expression "apple-pie order," meaning "perfect order," may have originated as a corruption of "cap-a-pie order." The evidence for that theory is far from orderly, however, and it must be regarded as speculative.

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