Word of the Day

lacuna

audio pronunciation
December 03, 2013
noun
\luh-KOO-nuh\
Definition
1
: a blank space or a missing part : gap; also : deficiency, inadequacy
2
: a small cavity, pit, or discontinuity in an anatomical structure
Examples
The newly discovered Civil War documents will fill many lacunae in the museum's archives.

"There are some peculiar lacunae in this volume, however. While Mr. Ellsworth-Jones quotes from earlier interviews (mainly via e-mail) that Banksy has dispensed over the years to others, he did not bother to submit his own e-mail questions…." — From a book review by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times, February 8, 2013
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Did You Know?
Exploring the etymology of "lacuna" involves taking a plunge into the pit—or maybe a leap into the "lacus" (that's the Latin word for "lake"). Latin speakers modified "lacus" into "lacuna," and used it to mean "pit," "cleft," or "pool." English speakers borrowed the term in the 17th century. It is usually pluralized as "lacunae," as in our example sentences, though "lacunas" is also an accepted variant plural. Another English word that traces its origin to "lacuna" is "lagoon," which came to us by way of Italian and French.

Test Your Memory: What word completes this sentence from a former Word of the Day piece: "Experts in the computer industry suspected that the __________ being pushed by the software company was still full of bugs and would never hit the market"? The answer is …
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