A nice resource for them learners of EnglishJuly 10, 2007 at 12:11 pm | Posted in English | 2 Comments
Tags: Attrition, learning, War of Attrition
…is One Word a Day. After signing up, they’ll send you one word a day the meaning of which you have to guess from three options. You can look up the solution in you email (i.e. don’t need a web browser) or you can listen to it online (on their website). You can also make recommendations – I think two years ago after having watched “First Blood” (Rambo in German) I suggested “war of attrition” – which finally made it into the league of word’s of the day today 🙂
Etymology: from around the 15th century. The original meaning referred
to rubbing away by friction and was borrowed from the Latin attritio and
from attritus, the past participle of atterere, meaning to rub against.
(The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology)
Attrition is used in a variety of contexts to denote something that is
gradually being reduced or weakened. It’s often applied in situations
where a company wants to reduce its workforce, but without layoffs or
firings. In this context, attrition means as workers leave for new jobs
or retire, their positions are not filled.
Another context is the phrase “war of attrition”, which is a protracted
conflict in which one side attempts to wear down its enemy by
continuously engaging in battle. In the 20th Century, fighting a war of
attrition also came to include attacking enemy civilians and resources,
and not just confining itself to battles between military forces in a
traditional battle setting.
Examples of wars of attrition are World War I, World War II, The Vietnam
War and the 1968 to 1970 struggle between Egypt and Israel, so named the
War of Attrition.
First Language Attrition would be another important use to add.