Monday, December 06, 2004

Word of the Day

Word of the Day

Brought to you by Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition:

absinthe \AB-sinth\ noun 1 : wormwood; especially : a common European wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
*2 : a green liqueur which is flavored with wormwood, anise, and other aromatic herbs and commercial production of which is banned in many countries for health concerns

Example sentence:"I draw the line at absinthe, a bottle of which is still sitting in my liquor cabinet five years after it was received, gleaming ominously." (Alexandra Jacobs, The New York Times, November 7, 2004)

Did you know?In 1797, the Swiss Henri-Louis Pernod was the first to commercially produce an alcoholic drink from the bitter herb Artemisia absinthium, known commonly as wormwood. By the mid-to-late 1800s this bright green distillation, by then known in both French and English as "absinthe," had become wildly popular, especially among artists and writers, but it also had a tendency to make people a little wild. In fact, it was linked to several nasty disorders, including convulsions and foaming at the mouth. The culprit? A toxin in wormwood — perhaps the very chemical that gives the plant its tapeworm-exterminating properties (and thus its name). Because of these horrific side effects, true absinthe was banned in many countries (including the U.S.) in the early 1900s, but that didn't remove the taste for the drink.
*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.


Post a Comment

<< Home