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April 25, 2019

Word of the Day: Nonpareil

2 CQ

Word of the Day : April 25, 2019

nonpareil \nahn-puh-REL\ adjective


: having no equal

Did You Know?

Trace nonpareil back to its Middle French origins, and you'll find that it comes from a term meaning "not equal." Pareil itself comes from a Vulgar Latin form of par, which means "equal." Nonpareil has served as an English adjective since the 15th century, and since about the turn of the 16th century, it has also functioned as a noun describing an individual of unequaled excellence. In 1612, Captain John Smith used the term in that noun sense (but with a now-archaic spelling): "Pocahontas, Powhatan's daughter ... was the very Nomparell of his kingdome, and at most not past 13 or 14 years of age." And as you may know, nonpareil is also the name of a chocolate candy covered with white sugar pellets.

Aired April 25, 2019

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