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Noun: Tchotchke  ( CHACH-kuh) Definition: Knicknack or trinket Sample sentence: Every time I return from a trip, I bring my mother-in-law some little tchotcke to add to the rest of her collection of dust-collectors.

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Many women may be receiving medically unjustified pelvic exams, according to a new investigation from the University of California, San Francisco. The study found that many of the 521 gynecologists and obstetricians surveyed mistakenly believe that pelvic exams are important in screening for ovarian cancer. The research team noted that under current preventive care guidelines […]

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How do you rate your stress level? Your answer to that question may tell you something about your risk of coronary heart disease. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Centers analyzed six studies involving data on almost 120,000 participants to find out how perceived stress ranks as a predictor of heart disease. Depending on the participants’ […]

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Verb: Thimblerig  (THIM-bul-rig) Definition: 1. To cheat by trickery 2. To swindle by a trick in which a small ball or pea is quickly shifted from under one to another of three small cups to fool the spectator guessing its location. Sample sentence: The appraiser looked closely at the painting to make sure the seller […]

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Adjective: Paltry  (PAWL-tree) Definition: 1. Trashy, inferior 2. Mean, despicable 3. Trivial 4. Meager, measly Sample sentence: Anna told us she was tired of engaging in paltry work and longed to do something meaningful with her life.

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If a raw food diet appeals to you, think twice. New research from Brazil suggests that the capacities of human brains evolved far beyond those of gorillas and chimps because our early ancestors learned to cook food. Investigators at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro determined that human brains have an average of 86 […]

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Noun: Clepsydra  (KLEP-suh-druh) Definition: An instrument designed to measure time by the fall or flow of a quantity of water: water clock. Sample sentence: The ancient Greeks were known to time political speeches with a clepsydra; when the water was gone, the oration was over.

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Here’s one less thing to worry about as you get older: your immune system will still be as capable of shaking off bugs as that of a much younger person. A study at Canada’s McMaster University assessed the resistance of individuals under 40, between 41 and 59 and older than 60 when infected with three […]

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Noun: Pugilism  (PYOO-juh-liz-um) Definition: Boxing Sample sentence: Long fascinated by the art and science of pugilism, Shane has collected biographies of noted boxers such as Muhammad Ali, Jack Dempsey, and Sonny Liston.

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Because water displaces body weight, exercising in swimming pools may not seem as worthwhile as putting in the same effort on land, where gravity can exert its full force. However, a new study from Canada disputes that reasoning, and found that water workouts can be as good, if not better than land-based exercise. The study, […]

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