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Word of the Day : December 3, 2013

lacuna

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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



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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