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January 15, 2011

Word of the Day

  • charisma
  • audio pronunciation
  • \kuh-RIZ-muh\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
: a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure (as a political leader)
2
: a special magnetic charm or appeal
  • EXAMPLES

The young singer had the kind of charisma that turns a performer into a star.

"On one level, 'Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson' is an irreverent, bratty rock musical about our seventh president as a baby rock star who loves his tight jeans and a sociopath who loves his big gun. Embedded in the Wild West satire, however, are serious questions about the importance of charisma in the selection of American leaders and the justifications our forebears used to grab land in the fancy name of Manifest Destiny." -- From a review by Linda Winer in Newsday, December 15, 2010

  • DID YOU KNOW?

The Greek word "charisma" means "favor" or "gift." In English, it has been used in Christian contexts since about 1640 to refer to a gift or power bestowed upon an individual by the Holy Spirit for the good of the Church. (This sense is now very rare.) The earliest nonreligious use of "charisma" that we know of occurred in a German text, a 1922 publication by sociologist Max Weber. The sense began appearing in English contexts shortly after Weber’s work was published.

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "funambulism," our featured word from December 27, 2010? The answer is ...

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Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP

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