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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

HORS DE COMBAT: "out of combat: disabled"

Merriam-Webster Online
The Word of the Day for June 02, 2008 is:
hors de combat • \or-duh-kohng-BAH (the "ng" is not pronounced, but the preceding vowel is nasalized)\ • adjective or adverb

: out of combat : disabled

Example Sentence:
With their best pitcher hors de combat with a shoulder injury, the team faced a bleak season.
Did you know?
We picked up "hors de combat" directly from French back in the mid-18th century. Benjamin Franklin put the term to use in a 1776 letter, observing that an "arrow sticking in any part of a man puts him hors du [sic] combat till it is extracted." But you don't have to use the word as literally as Franklin did. "Combat" can refer to any fight or contest, not just fighting in a war. A politician who's out of the running in a political race could be declared "hors de combat," for example. But the adjective (or adverb) need not refer only to humans or animals: if you own a car, chances are your vehicle has been hors de combat at least once.

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