January 15, 2013
parapet (noun)
\PAIR-uh-put\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : a wall of earth or stone to protect soldiers2 : a low wall or railing at the edge of a platform, roof, or bridge
How do you use it?
"I was the cause of his joy and would be the cause of his destruction: a secret delivered to his enemies, a letter written in my own hand, a covert signal given by me, poison in his glass, a dagger in his ribs, a fall from a parapet." (Gail Carson Levine, _Ella Enchanted_)
Are you a word wiz?

The English word "parapet" has its roots in two Italian words: the verb "parare" and the noun "petto." What do you think these two roots mean?

Sing out from the parapets if you chose B! "Parare" means "to shield," and "petto" means "chest." "Petto" comes from "pectus," the Latin word for "chest," which is also the root of our word "pectoral," meaning "of, relating to, or situated in, near, or on the chest." "Parare" combined with "petto" formed the Italian word "parapetto," which refers to the walls around the tops of forts that are high enough to shield soldiers' torsos but low enough to allow them to see over and defend against invaders. English speakers adopted "parapetto" as "parapet" in the 1500s.
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