Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Word of the Day June 6, 2007

canard • \kuh-NARD\ • noun

1 a : a false or unfounded report or story; especially : a fabricated report
*b : a groundless rumor or belief
2 : an airplane with horizontal stabilizing and control surfaces in front of supporting surfaces; also : a small airfoil in front of the wing of an aircraft that increases the aircraft's stability
Example Sentence:"Last week's storm," Chet declared, "showed us that the claim that lightning cannot strike the same place twice is nothing more than a canard."

Did you know?In 16th-century France "vendre des canards à moitié" was a colorful way of saying "to fool" or "to cheat." The French phrase means, literally, "to half-sell ducks." No one now knows just what was meant by "to half-sell"; the proverb was probably based on some story widely known at the time, but the details have not survived. At any rate, the expression led to the use of "canard," the French word for "duck," with the meaning "a hoax" or "a fabrication." English speakers adopted this "canard" in the mid-1800s. The aeronautical sense of "canard," used from the early days of flying, comes from the stubby duck-like appearance of the aircraft.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

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