Word of the Day : March 20, 2011


verb TRUNG-kayt


: to shorten by or as if by cutting off

Did You Know?

The earliest use of "truncate" in English was as an adjective describing something (such as a leaf or feather) with the end squared off as if it had been cut. It makes sense, then, that the verb which was coined very shortly thereafter referred to shortening things as though by cutting. "Truncate" descends from the Latin verb "truncare" ("to shorten"), which in turn can be traced back to the Latin word for "trunk," which was "truncus." Incidentally, if you've guessed that "truncus" is also the ancestor of the English word "trunk," you are correct. "Truncus" also gave us "truncheon" (a police officer's billy club) and the obscure word "obtruncate" ("to cut the head or top from").


The phone cut out, truncating Susan's sentence, and I was left wondering what she had intended to communicate.

"Thanks to the State of the Union Address, The Biggest Loser was cut in half this week. And while in the past, we've seen the editors truncate the events of the episode to fit in a single hour's running time, that wasn't the case this week." -- From a review in TV Squad, January 26, 2011

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What word completes this sentence from a recent Word of the Day piece: "I may not be an 'athlete,' in the common ______________ of that word, but I do enjoy my daily workouts at the gym."? The answer is ...


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