• veteran •
ve-dê-rên • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A person with long service in some capacity, as a veteran salesman at the department store. 2. Someone who has served for any period in the Armed Services.
Notes: Today's Good Word may be used as an adjective with the same meaning as the noun, as in veteran salesman. Try to pronounce both the Es in veteran. Dropping unaccented vowels (syncope) is a process that occurs naturally in fast speech. Most English speakers tend to drop the second E and pronounce this word [vetrên]. Down South in the US, however, we often skip the A and pronounce the word [vedêrn].
In Play: November 11 is Veterans Day, a national and state holiday in the US celebrating all those who have served in the military services. Veterans Day in the US was originally Armistice Day, celebrating the armistice (truce) ending World War I. It was signed at 11 AM on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Armistice Day commenced on the same day in 1919. In 1954 President Eisenhower signed the bill that made November 11 (or the nearest Monday) officially Veterans Day, a day to celebrate the sacrifices of veterans of all wars in which the US participated.
Word History: Today's Good Word is from French vétéran, the descendant of Latin veteranus "old, aged". Veteranus is based on vetus, genitive veteris "old, aged". It is akin to vetores "men of old, forefathers". Latin vetus ultimately became Italian vecchio, French vieux, Spanish viejo, all meaning "old". Vetus is a descendant of the Proto-Indo-European root wet- "year". We find it in Latin vitellus "little calf" because this word originally meant "yearling". Old French reduced the Latin word to vedel, then to veel "a calf" (Modern French veau), which English borrowed and touched up for its word veal.
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