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July 8, 2020

Word of the Day: Broadside

2 CQ

Word of the Day : September 26, 2017

broadside \BRAWD-syde\ noun


1 a : a sizable sheet of paper printed on one side; also : a sheet of paper printed on one or both sides and folded (such as for mailing)

b : something (such as a ballad) printed on a broadside

2 : all the guns on one side of a ship; also : their simultaneous discharge

3 : a volley of abuse or denunciation : a strongly worded attack

4 : a broad or unbroken surface


"When the Declaration of Independence was ratified, Congress ordered that it be read throughout the colonies. The first broadside was printed in Philadelphia by John Dunlap on the evening of July 4, 1776." — The Salem (Massachusetts) News, 29 Mar. 2016

"In response, Kobach said Hensley's broadside was larded with misrepresentations certain to be distasteful to Kansans hungry for decency in politics." — Tim Carpenter, The Topeka (Kansas) Capital-Journal, 16 Aug. 2017

Did You Know?

What do sheets of printed paper and a ship's artillery have in common? Not a whole lot besides their broadsides. The printing and naval senses of broadside arose independently of one another. Printed broadsides may have first been decrees intended for public posting, so they were necessarily printed on one side of large sheets of paper. Soon even matters printed on one side of smallish sheets were called broadsides—advertisements, for example, or the so-called "broadside ballads," popular ditties that people stuck on the wall to sing from. In the nautical sense, broadside was originally the entire side of a ship above the water—which is where the guns were placed. The further use of broadside to refer to firing of the guns eventually led to the figurative "volley of abuse" sense.

Aired September 26, 2017

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