Word of the Day : October 27, 2010

notch

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noun NAHTCH

Definition

1 : a V-shaped hollow in an edge or surface

2 : a narrow pass between two mountains

3 : degree, step

Did You Know?

Occasionally, you might hear a child ask for a "napple," as in "I would like another napple," mistaking the phrase "an apple" for "a napple." A similar error is believed to be behind "notch," which may have resulted from a misdivision of "an otch." ("Otch" is a noun that is assumed to have existed in earlier English as a borrowing of Middle French "oche," meaning "an incision made to keep a record.") "Notch" would not be alone in developing from such a mistake. The words "newt" and "nickname" were formed, respectively, from misdivisions of "an ewte" and "an ekename." Going in the other direction, "umpire" first appears in Middle English as "oumpere," a mistaken rendering of "a noumpere."

Quick Quiz: What word meaning "a small notch, groove, or chip" can also be a name for a boy or a man? The answer is ...


Examples

The instructions said to cut small notches at the corners of the fabric.

"The center said at 5 p.m. EDT that Paula had dropped a notch from a Category 2 storm as it took a track forecast to pass very near or over western Cuba later in the night or early Thursday." -- From a press release by Paul Haven, The Associated Press State & Local Wire, October 13, 2010




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