• armistice •
Pronunciation: ahr-mê-stis • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A temporary truce put in place until a permanent agreement can be reached between two hostile parties. The World War I armistice was extended three times before a peace accord was signed in 1919. The Korean War ended with only an armistice agreement, so Korea is still officially at war with itself.
Notes: Today is officially Veteran's Day, so the post offices and some businesses are closed, while, in ordinary times, some restaurants would offer free meals to veterans. Veterans Day was originally called "Armistice Day". It commemorated the signing of the agreement that ended World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, but was changed by Congress to Veterans Day in 1954.
In Play: It still is called "Armistice Day" in many countries around the world. People in some of those countries wear poppies on this day commemorating those fallen in WWI. I remember when Americans bought paper and silk poppies on Armistice Day in the US. Poppies were the first flowers seen in the devastated countryside in Flanders. Canadian John McCrea wrote of what he saw in the whilom famous poem, "In Flanders Fields".
Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Late Latin armistitium "armistice" based on Latin arma "arms" + -stitium "stopping, standing." The original Proto-Indo-European word for "arms" apparently referred to something fitted together, for Latin arma originally meant "tool, instrument". Moreover, the same root turns up in Greek as harmos "shoulder" and harmonia "agreement, harmony" from which we get harmony. The original root sta- went on to become, unsurprisingly, stand and stop in English. However, see if you can figure out why it also appears in stallion and steed.