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Word of the Day - for Toastmasters everywhere
Saturday 2nd December 2023
Archive | Previous word | Today's word |

nepenthe (noun) ne-PENTH-ee

A drink or drug supposedly once taken to forget sadness or troubles; anything that alleviates pain or which soothers or comforts.

Opium is important and, in one or another of its derivatives and preparations, has been for millenniums. It is mentioned by Homer, who called it nepenthe; it was a major factor in the shaping of 19th- and 20th-century Chinese history; it contributed in its way to the sensualism of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poetry, and, of course, it is an addictive commodity traded by vast networks of criminals.

Richard Bernstein, The New York Times, 29 July 1998, New York Times
reviewing Martin Booth's Opium: A History. Amazon

Having spent the daylight hours canvassing Nepal's capital for an article I was researching, a relaxing evening free of open sewers and wandering cows seemed the perfect nepenthe for an American unaccustomed to the unspeakable squalor the average Nepalese confronts every day of his life.

Michael Konik, The New York Times, 16 September 1990. New York Times

Others will find a few weeks there a sort of nepenthe, lazy day succeeding lazy day.

Harold Schonberg, The New York Times, 9 September 1984. New York times

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