ersatz_read (ersatz_read) wrote in 1word1day,
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1word1day

Monday word: hecatomb

hecatomb  (hk-tm), noun.
1. (in ancient Greece and Rome) a great public sacrifice of 100 oxen or cattle.
2. a large-scale sacrifice or slaughter

Etymology:  from Greek hekaton, one hundred.
The first month of the Attic calendar was Hekatombaion, the month in which such sacrifices were made.

"By extension, a hecatomb is any large slaughter perpetrated for a consequent benefit.  Natural selection is a long series of hecatombs."
  - Stephen Jay Gould, "Eight Little Piggies:  Reflections in Natural History"
Tags: greek, h, noun, wordsmith: ersatz_read
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