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June 15, 2013

Word of the Day

  • gymkhana
  • audio pronunciation
  • \jim-KAH-nuh\
  • DEFINITION

noun

a : a meet featuring sports contests or athletic skills: as b : competitive games on horseback c : a festival featuring gymnastics and athletic showmanship and often including pageantry d : a timed contest for automobiles featuring a series of events designed to test driving skill
  • EXAMPLES

"The Lower Clarence Pony Club attended the first gymkhana of the season at Casino Pony Club grounds last weekend." — From an article by Patrick Allen in the Clarence Valley Daily Examiner (New South Wales, Australia), May 6, 2013

"The gymkhana competitor and stunt driver Ken Block is expected to drive the Pirelli Formula One test car at Monza, the historic Italian racetrack, in August." — From a post on the New York Times' Wheels blog, June 16, 2011

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Both the word "gymkhana" and the event it describes originated in 19th-century India. The word is probably an alteration of the Hindi "gedkhana," which describes a ball- playing area similar to a racket ball court, with the first syllable influenced by our word "gymnasium." The first gymkhanas were displays of athletics and equestrian skill, and while those are still common, the 20th century introduced a new kind of gymkhana, designed to show off car handling. These newer gymkhanas are often held in parking lots, where contestants race over tight, twisting courses marked with cones or pylons.

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "requite," our Word of the Day from May 14? The answer is …

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