Monday, July 19, 2010


I've subscribed to Merriam-Webster's "word of the day" emails for a long time now (, it's an interesting way to learn new words.

Today the word of the day was one I've never heard of but it's got a Nights related etymology.  I think they've got the Barmecide history a bit wrong but then again the information on them is fairly scant.  One thing is for sure there are a lot of derogatory things written about the Barmecides, owing perhaps to the speculated slight that Jafar gave to Harun Al Rashid.  This English word appears to be a continuation of that negative portrayal.

"The Word of the Day for July 19 is:

Barmecidal   \bahr-muh-SYE-dul\   adjective
: providing only the illusion of abundance

Example sentence:
The tax rebate is a Barmecidal windfall, coming as it does in the wake of new hidden taxes on consumer goods and services.

Did you know?
"Barmecide" is the name of a family of princes in a tale from The Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights' Entertainment). One prince in the family torments a beggar by inviting him to a fabulous feast, at which all the dishes are imaginary. The poor man plays along with his malicious host, pretending to get drunk on the imaginary wine; he then gets even by knocking down the patronizing royal."

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