• Thanksgivukkah •
Pronunciation: thænks-giv-ê-kê • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: The hybrid holiday when the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide.
Notes: This word will be useful again in 2070 and 2165. After that Hanukkah will not fall in November for 70,000+ years. What prevents today's Good Word from being a nonce word? More than five million occurrences on the Web, Thanksgivukkah t-shirts, and turkeys whose tail feathers form a menorah.
In Play: Today's Good Word is a blend of two words, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Thanksgiving, in its turn, is a compound of thanks + giving. The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621 by the Plymouth Colony Pilgrims in appreciation of the Massasoit tribe's assistance in bringing in the harvest. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.
Word History: The second half of Thanksgivukkah is the English rendition of Hebrew hanukkah "consecration" from hanakh "he trained, dedicated". This verb comes from the noun hekh "palate", which gave the verb the original meaning of "he rubbed the palate of a child with chewed dates", something that was done long ago during the instruction of children. The past participle, hanoch "dedicated", was also used as a name, Hanoch, which the Greeks and Romans interpreted as Enoch. (We wish our Jewish friends the happiest Hanukkah and all others the happiest Thanksgiving ever.)