Word of the Day

Saturday, March 02, 2013


\muh-ZOO-muh\ , noun;
...and I want mazuma, gelt, coin, rocks, or what have you!
-- Harry Stephen Keeler, The Riddle of the Yellow Zuri, 1930
The American's hostility to what is beautiful and charming — a hostility as deeply rooted in him as his belief in the omnipotence of mazuma and God — finds its best illustration in a reconnaissance of all those originally placid and lovely spots of his own country which, with what would seem to be a flagellant's glee, he has debased and made hideous.
-- George Jean Nathan, "Clinical Notes," American Mercury Magazine, 1927
Mazuma is a Yiddish word that comes to English from the Mishnaic Hebrew term mezumman. This term literally translates to "designated," "fixed," or "appointed," though it was used figuratively to refer to "cash" in Medieval Hebrew.
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