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Monday, August 28, 2006

Word for the Week: tarantism

tarantism (TAR-uhn-tiz-uhm) noun
An uncontrollable urge to dance.
[After Taranto, a town in southern Italy where this phenomenon was experiencedduring the 15-17th centuries. It's not clear whether tarantism was the symptomof a spider's bite or its cure, or it may have been just a pretext to dodge aprohibition against dancing. The names of the dance tarantella and the spidertarantula are both derived from the same place.]

-Anu Garg (

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