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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: 

PUTSCH

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In Justice Antonin Scalia's dissenting opinion in Obergefel v. Hodges, his anger at the majority opinion legalizing same-sex marriage fuels characteristic flights of rhetorical excess.

One of them supplies our word of the week: "But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today's judicial Putsch. The five Justices who compose today's majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment's ratification and Massachusetts' permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003."

Putsch (pronounced, roughly, POOCH) is a direct lifting from German, specifically fifteen-century Swiss German, meaning "knock," "thrust," "blow."

It came into English in the twentieth century, meaning an attempt to overthrow a government, an insurrection or coup d'etat. Adolf Hitler's abortive attempt to overthrow the Bavarian government in Munich in 1923 was called the Beer Hall Putsch, and the word is stuck with that association.

In a milder sense, the word is used to identify a sudden and forceful attempt to take over an organization or business.

Example: From Dave Hickey's "It's Morning in Navada," Harper's, November 2006: "This is standard Nevada these days: there are suddenly a lot of 'Reagan' Republicans, and 'Goldwater' Republicans, and young, dot-corn swifties who admit to being 'blue-jean libertarians,' all of whom look back in stunned dismay at the fundamentalist putsch that, in their view, has inverted the meritocracy of the conservative movement."

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