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You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.

In a word: Advent

The Baltimore Sun

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word:

ADVENT

Sunday marked the beginning of Advent, the Christian liturgical season leading up to the Twelve Days of Christmas, which some of you may need to be reminded, the music in groceries and shopping malls notwithstanding, begins on December 25, Christmas Day, and extends to January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany.

The word Advent comes from the Latin adventus, “arrival,” deriving from the past participle of advenire, “to come to.” In Christian terms, it can mean the coming of Christ, the Incarnation, or the Second Coming of Christ. In the generic lowercase sense, it can mean any coming or arrival.

The season of Advent, encompassing the four Sundays before Christmas, has traditionally been a period of prayerful, expectant waiting, sometimes with fasting.

This year we have the Advent anticipating Christmas, along with the advent of a new presidential administration, expectation of the latter of which has also inspired some people to prayer and fasting.

Example: From Andrew F, Smith’s Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City (2016) “On October 14, 1842, New Yorkers celebrated the advent of their new, safe water supply with parades and fireworks.”

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