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'Pogonotrophy': Tharoor Drops Another 'Head-scratcher', Refers to PM While Explaining

Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor

Tharoor said he learnt of the new word pogonotrophy, which means the growing or cultivation of a beard, from a friend. He also used the word to take an apparent dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, known for his penchant for rarely used English words, sent the Twitterati running for their dictionaries on Friday with another head scratcher — pogonotrophy. Tharoor said he learnt of the new word pogonotrophy, which means the growing or cultivation of a beard, from a friend. He also used the word to take an apparent dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A Twitter user reached out to Tharoor, saying she was waiting to learn a new word and the former Union minister was quick to oblige. "My friend Rathin Roy, the economist, taught me a new word today: pogonotrophy, which means 'the cultivation of a beard'. As in, the PM's pogonotrophy has been a pandemic preoccupation," he said in a tweet.

Tharoor's tweet left many bemused with a Twitter user saying, "If the world has Oxford dictionary Why not India has Tharur Dictionary (sic)?" "Thanks for sharing this one from Tharoorictionary," said another user. This is not the first time Tharoor has sent Twitterati scurrying for their dictionaries. In May, Tharoor engaged in a friendly banter with TRS working president K T Rama Rao over COVID-19 medicine names and threw in another head scratcher — floccinaucinihilipilification.

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Oxford dictionary describes floccinaucinihilipilification as the action or habit of estimating something as worthless. Tharoor has been a man of many words earlier too. In the past, he has stumped people with rarely used English words such as "farrago" and "troglodyte". While farrago means a confused mixture, a troglodyte means a person regarded as being deliberately ignorant or old-fashioned.

Tharoor has also started a new weekly column on words in the Weekend Magazine of the 'Khaleej Times' of Dubai.

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first published:July 02, 2021, 21:23 IST