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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:13 pm

• hiatus •

Pronunciation: hai-ay-tês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A pause or gap in a sequence, process, or anything else. 2. An interruption in an activity during which nothing appears or happens, such as a blank space on a printed page. 3. A pause between two consecutive vowels that are pronounced independently, as in naive or coopt.

Notes: I was surprised the first time I heard the adjective to this word, hiatal (pronounced [hai-ê-têl]), in the phrase 'hiatal hernia'. I thought all hernias were hiatal. But a hiatal hernia is one that allows the stomach to protrude into the chest cavity. The plural of this word is either hiatuses or simply hiatus.

In Play: This word most commonly is used to specify a temporal break in a sequence of events: "During the hiatus between semesters, Buffy flew to Florida to escape the winter and reconnoiter for spring break." However, other things can have hiatuses: "The explosion left a hiatus in the sidewalk that was too large to jump over."

Word History: Today's word was copied whole from Latin hiatus "opening, gap", the past participle stem of hiare "to gape, stand open". The Latin word comes from Proto-Indo-European ghia- "to yawn, gape", which also shows up in Russian zijat' "to gape, yawn", Czech zivat "to yawn", Greek khainein "to gape, yawn", and Sanskrit vijihite "to gape, be ajar". English yawn comes from the same root. The old Germanic languages added an N, so it reached Old English as ginian "yawn, gape". By the time it entered Middle English it was yane, and Modern English modified it to yawn. The Old English word has cognates in Norse gina "to gape", Dutch geeuwen "to yawn", and German gähnen "to yawn, gape". (We are happy to thank Albert Skiles for his recommendation of today's Good Word after a considerable hiatus between his suggestion and publication.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

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Re: Hiatus

Postby Scottmellon » Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:39 am

The plural is hiatuses or simply hiatus? That's Hardly simple. It's Latin fourth declension like impetus and may be written with a macron. Impetūs. But even I am not that pedantic!

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Re: Hiatus

Postby call_copse » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:59 am

Nice apophasis there! :D

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Re: Hiatus

Postby misterdoe » Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:01 pm

The TV industry uses the term also for show interruptions, though sometimes with the meaning of "we want to cancel the show but we want to test public reaction first." :roll: So a show "on hiatus" may come back or it may just be canceled if the hiatus announcement doesn't get much response.

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Re: Hiatus

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:58 pm

Note to Agorans on hiatus: we miss you...

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Re: Hiatus

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:55 am

Welcome to the Agora, Scottmellon. Post often. Do not go on hiatus.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

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