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November 3, 2018

Word of the Day: Sinew

1 CQ

Word of the Day : November 3, 2018

sinew \SIN-yoo\ noun


1 : tendon; especially : one dressed for use as a cord or thread

2 a : solid resilient strength : power

b : the chief supporting force : mainstay — usually used in plural

Did You Know?

Many parts of the body have come to have figurative meanings in English. One can have an eye for interior design, for example, or lack the stomach for horror movies. Muscle, of course, can mean "strength," and so can sinew, a word for the tissue that ties muscle to bone—more commonly known as a tendon. For a while, sinew and nerve were used in a synonymous manner for both tendons and nerves, but the use of sinew in the sense of "nerve" is now obsolete, and nerve in the sense of "sinew" or "tendon" is now primarily found only in certain phrases such as "strain every nerve" (which implies making every possible effort). The use of sinew to mean "the chief supporting force" ties into its anatomical function as a stabilizing unit. Sinew derives via Middle English from Old English seono; it is also related to Old High German senawa ("sinew") and Sanskrit syati ("he binds").

Aired November 3, 2018

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