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technique

Printable Version Pronunciation: tek-neek Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A special way of doing something.

Notes: Today's word is a good example of the English spelling system gone wild: the sound [k] is spelled two odd ways, CH and QUE, ignoring the two "normal" ways of spelling this sound, C and K. (See how bad it really is by clicking here.) I suppose that is why some dictionaries carry technic as an alternative spelling. The adjective for this word is technical, though it has taken on a slightly oblique meaning: "related to a particular subject". The noun, technician, has retained this meaning: "a person with a specialized skill", such as a computer technician who has technical knowledge of computers.

In Play: Today's Good Word, no matter how you spell it, means a particular way of doing something: "Les Newcombe has a technique for throwing spitballs that no umpire has yet detected." Anything we do in our own way involves a technique: "Phil Anders has a technique for attracting women that is as deceptive as it is effective."

Word History: Today's Good Word is the French word technique "technique, style", taken over with no amendments. This word comes from Greek tekhnikos "related to art", from tekhne "art, skill", which, in turn, derives from the Proto-Indo-European word teks- "to weave". It also provided Greek with tekton "builder", from which it derived arkhitekton "chief builder". By the time this word had been borrowed by Latin, reworked by French into architecte, its meaning had changed to "architect". English, as I'm sure you've guessed by now, borrowed it from French. The PIE original word emerged in Latin as texere "to weave". The past participle of this word is textus "woven", the basis of our text. (Thanks and a tip of Dr. Goodword's hat to Dawn Shawley, Miss Spelling of the Goodword, Jr., who has her own technique of submitting words like today's Good One.

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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