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Gerrymandering, mausoleum, Jezebel, quixotic

Created date

December 8th, 2014

Gerrymander(ing)

When a state engages in gerrymandering, it’s dividing voting districts into units that will give a particular party the advantage in an election. The term derives its name from Elbridge Gerry, a member of the first Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

While governor of Massachusetts, Gerry enacted a law dividing voting districts in such an irregular fashion that, on a map, their outlines resembled a salamander, according to one observer.

On hearing this, the governor quipped, “Gerrymander, rather.” And the name stuck.

“Since our county was gerrymandered, our party has lost all force as far as its voting powers are concerned.”

Mausoleum

Mausoleums adorn cemeteries around the world. Usually large, stone vaults, they not only house the remains of the deceased but also act as monuments to their memories.

The name, mausoleum, comes from Mausolus, King of Caria, whose widow built him a magnificent tomb at Halicarnassus in 353 B.C. Because of its grandeur, the structure earned the distinction as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

“The president’s remains were installed in a grand mausoleum.”

Jezebel

When someone refers to a woman as a “Jezebel,” they are labeling her a person of loose morals, to put it politely. The term comes from the Bible, a reference to Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, King of Zidon.

Jezebel was known for her wickedness and ordered punished by the Lord himself—hence the term’s meaning today.

“My mother told me to change into a longer skirt because the one I was wearing made me look like a Jezebel.”

Quixotic

When a person is impractically dreamy, we refer to him as quixotic. The label comes from Cervantes’ classic novel Don Quixote, the main character of which, Don Quixote de la Mancha, is so taken by the romantic notion of chivalry that he roams the world, fancying himself a brave and gallant knight.

Of course, the deranged Quixote is no such thing. He was, in a word, quixotic.

“Buying a lottery ticket with the expectation of winning is quixotic to say the least.”

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