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The Merriam-Webster word of the day!(7 posts)

The Merriam-Webster word of the day!rollo tommassi
Jul 9, 2003 9:27 AM
A colleague is on their email list and she forwarded this to me.

The Word of the Day for Jul 09 is:
peloton \peh-luh-TAHN\ noun

: the main body of riders in a bicycle race

Example sentence:
Thousands of cycling fans lined the race route, relaxing in lawn chairs as they waited for the peloton to speed by.

Did you know?
If you've ever watched the Tour de France on television, you've seen plenty of the peloton, the seemingly endless flow of brightly colored riders making up the central group. You may have also gained some inadvertent insight into the word itself, which as you may have guessed is French in origin. In French, "peloton" literally means "ball," but it is most often used with the meaning "group." It's frequently used in the bicycling context, just as in English, but it can also refer to a group in a marathon or other sporting event. French "peloton" can also mean "squad" or "platoon," and since we've told you that you probably won't be too surprised to learn that it is also the source of our word "platoon."

NOTE: Today's Word of the Day can be found in the NEW Eleventh Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, along with more than 10,000 new words and senses. Find out more at:

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

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Pronunciation queryjtolleson
Jul 9, 2003 10:05 AM
Although I'm sure that Peh-lo-TAHN is closer to the actual french, most folks I hear say "PEH-lo-tahn." In fact, that's how I say it. Am I a goober?

Wait... don't answer that ...
Pronunciation queryAllUpHill
Jul 9, 2003 10:55 AM
French, unlike most other languages, does not enforce or depend on the emphasis of a specific syllable for each word. Think about how dependent and strict we are on correct emphasis in English, but a French speaker may technically emphasize any syllable on a whim. Seems like, for most words, in practice, they tend to lean on the last syllable more than the first or middle, but it really does vary.

To be picky, the phonetic given is still reflects our anglicized bastardization. The final n is not really pronounced, and the final vowel is a little darker than "ah" with that nasal imaginary-consonant effect.

You're not a goober, by the way. We english speakers are entitled hijack and butcher foreign words any way we like, espeically from French. :-)
Bob Roll three words of the day!Akirasho
Jul 9, 2003 10:12 AM
Tour Day France

:A big bike race in... France

Be the bike.
saw that earlier, thought "how cool"terry b
Jul 9, 2003 10:24 AM
I always start my dayt playing the word games at Merriam-Webster - got to get the brain ticking to deal with everything. This morning I hit the word of the day accidentily and what a nice surprise.
If it's French for 'Platoon", why aren't they riding backwards...gcbgcb
Jul 9, 2003 2:03 PM
..with their hands up?
Thank God! Stupid me almost thought we were running out of...seyboro
Jul 9, 2003 8:06 PM
...dumbass French war jokes.