September 03, 2013
diadem (noun)
\DYE-uh-dem\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a headband worn especially as a symbol of royalty
How do you use it?
"With these remarks the ladies paused before a fine engraving of the Hon. Mrs Norton, with a pen in her hand and a rapt expression of countenance, likewise a diadem and pearl necklace." (Louisa May Alcott, _Jo's Boys_)
Are you a word wiz?

"Diadem" traces back to Greek. What do you think the Greek root word for "diadem" means?

There's no getting around it: the answer is C! "Diadem" comes ultimately from the Greek root word "diadein," which means "to bind around." In ancient times, a diadem wasn't a hard metal crown that you placed on a ruler's head, but a band you tied around their brow, like a headband. The Greeks took the words for "bind" ("dein") and "around" ("dia-") to create a word for this circlet. Over the years, diadems often became simple metal bands that were worn on the forehead. The word "diadem" is a little old-fashioned now, but still has enough use to be entered into the dictionary.
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