Word of the Day : October 16, 2010


noun EDD-ee


1 a : a current of water or air running contrary to the main current; especially : a circular current : whirlpool

b : something moving similarly

2 : a contrary or circular current (as of thought or policy)

Did You Know?

"He walked by the stream, far from the houses, and in the light and warmth of the sun fell asleep on the bank. When he awoke and was afoot again, he lingered there yet a little longer, watching an eddy that turned and turned purposeless, until the stream absorbed it, and carried it on to the sea." This use of "eddy" (from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens) reflects a sense that has been swirling around English for centuries; the earliest documented uses of "eddy" to refer to water currents date from the 15th century. Etymologists trace the word to the Scottish dialect term "ydy," which had the same basic meaning as our modern term and may in turn come from the Old Norse word "itha."

Quick Quiz: What synonym of "eddy" rhymes with "cortex"? The answer is ...


The strong gusts whipped up eddies of fallen leaves.

"At a time when the moneyed life in New York feels as if it is being sucked into the sewers, the reopening of Alice Tully Hall, the chamber music venue at Lincoln Center, feels like an eddy in the stream." -- From an article by Geraldine Baum in the Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2009


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