Word of The Day for Thursday, February 24, 2011


ba•nau•sic (buh-NAW-sik)  adj

1. serving utilitarian purposes only; mechanical; practical; materialistic, uncultured, routine
2. relating to or concerned with earning a living
3. of or relating to a mechanic

1845; from Gk. banausikos "pertaining to mechanics," from banausos "artisan, mere mechanical," hence (to the Greeks) "base, ignoble;" perhaps lit. "working by fire," from baunos "furnace, forge" (but Klein dismisses this as folk etymology and calls it "of uncertain origin")

Synonyms: prosaic, mundane, utilitarian, practical, mechanical, materialistic, uncultured, routine, ordinary

Sentence Examples:
• To very many men, indeed, who go up to the Universities with the intention of following teaching as a profession, a high degree is a mere investment, the one instinct in them which is not quite banausic being the conscientious thoroughness with which they impart what they have been taught.  -Ephemera Critica, John Churton Collins

• The Genoese, cavalier, are a banausic race, and penurious at that; they will go where the devil cannot, which is between the oak and the rind; opportunity given, they would sneak the breeches off a highlander: they divide their time between commercialism and a licentiousness of which, sordid as it is, they habitually beat down the price. -Sir John Constantine, Prosper Paleologus Constantine

• In most of the cities that were centres of intellectual life, the plebeians arose and replaced the formerly highly cultured patricians. The burghers began to tune the melodies of a new music: a banausic artisan song.  -Women of the Teutonic Nations, Hermann Schoenfeld

Sources: Dictionary.com, Merriam-Webster, Wordnik, Online Etymology

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