Word of the Day : April 7, 2014


noun SPAN-deks


: any of various elastic textile fibers made chiefly of polyurethane; also : clothing made of this material

Did You Know?

Spandex is a fiber that has had an impact on fashion high and low, casual and formal, outer and under. It's not a trademark, as a number of the names of other fibers are, among them "Dacron," "Lycra," and "Orlon." It's a generic term, coined in 1959 as an anagram of the word "expands." Anagrammatic coinages are not common; the only other in our dictionaries that the average person is likely to be familiar with is "sideburns." "Sideburns" is an anagram (and synonym) of "burnsides," from Ambrose E. Burnside, a Union general in the American Civil War credited with originating the fashion (in the U.S., at least) also known as "side-whiskers."


While spandex is appropriate for running races and perhaps errands too, few of us can get away with donning it in the workplace.

"[Olympic bobsled brakeman Chris] Fogt says his athletic life and his military career have some similarities, particularly the camaraderie forged in the trenches…. 'For us, it's obviously slightly different. Your life's not in danger. At the same time, you're sliding down an icy track in a bathtub with four men in spandex. You get very close.'" - From an article by Rick Maese in the Washington Post, February 24, 2014

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "magnum opus," our Word of the Day from March 4? The answer is …


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