Words at Play : People's Top 10 Favorite Words

#9: Palimpsest 

Definition:

writing material used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased; or, something with diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface

Example:

"Rome, the old hands always say, is a palimpsest. For folks like you and me, that means layer upon layer of history, buried right there in the Eternal City clay." – Paddy Agnew, The Irish Times, June 23, 2010

About the word:

the Greek palimpsēstos means "scraped again." Romans wrote on wax-covered tablets called palimpsestus that could be smoothed clean and reused; modern architects have extended the meaning of palimpsest to refer to buildings where the ghosts of earlier construction are visible.

Photo: DubyDub2009 / flickr

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