27 January 2005

Word for the Day

moiety \MOY-&-ti\ noun

1. One of two equal parts; a half.
2. An indefinite part; a small portion or share.
3. One of two basic tribal subdivisions.

Tom divided the cake and Becky ate with good appetite, while Tom nibbled at his moiety.--Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Cut off from news at home, fearful of a blood bath, anxious to salvage a moiety of the reform program, the Prague leadership accepted Moscow’s diktat.
--Karl E. Meyer, "Pangloss in Prague," New York Times, June 27, 1993

Barunga society is sharply divided into two complementary, descent-based branches (a structure anthropologists call "moiety"), which permeate relationships, spirituality, and many other aspects of life.
--Claire Smith, "Art of The Dreaming," Discovering Archaeology, March/April 2000
Moiety comes from Old French meitiet, from Late Latin medietas, from Latin medius, "middle."

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