Word of the Day

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


\ree-AL-toh\ , noun;
an exchange or mart.
We always did so in the same place, by a particular house, beyond the rialto in a steep-sloping backstreet of tenements, where advertisements turned in colours under the ivy.
-- China Miéville, Embassytown, 2011
I learn from Michael Lynch that courage of even the most spectacular nature isn't after all a spectacle, an arena with fixed sightlines, but instead a kind of floating permeable rialto of common lending, borrowing, extravagant indebtedness, and exchange.
-- Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet, 1990
The following morning dawned clear and cool, and the chef decided to send me to the Rialto to buy pears and Gorgonzola.
-- Elle Newmark, The Chef's Apprentice, 2011
Rialto comes from the name for the mercantile quarter of Venice during the middle ages. Shakespeare is thought to have brought the term into widespread usage from his play the Merchant of Venice, first performed at the turn of the seventeenth century. While it initially referred only to the specific marketplace in Venice, rialto soon took on a broader sense and could be applied marketplaces elsewhere.
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