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  • Writer's pictureMichael Sherer

Words of The Week:

An unfamiliar word in this week’s WSJ sent me on a research journey into linguistics.

periwinkle, n., a plant with bluish flowers and glossy leaves; a purple-blue color like that of the periwinkle flower; a shore-dwelling mollusk with a spiral shell.

complaisant, adj., willing to please others; obliging; agreeable.

complacent, adj., showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements.

extradition, n., the action of returning a person accused or convicted of a crime to the country in which the crime was committed.

rendition, n., the practice of sending a foreign criminal or terrorist suspect covertly to be interrogated in a country with less rigorous regulations for the humane treatment of prisoners.

homonym, n., each of two or more words having the same spelling or pronunciation but different meanings and origins; in the strictest, words that are simultaneously homophones and homographs.

homophone, n., each of two or more words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling.

homograph, n., each of two or more words spelled the same but not necessarily pronounced the same and having different meanings and origins.

Heteronym, n., each of two words with the same spelling but different pronunciation and meaning.

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