Word of the Week: Panoply

21 Jul

My friend and bandleader, Tom LaMark, used the word “panoply” in conversation recently. What a lovely word! It’s so old-fashioned, a bit like Tom himself, and I mean that in the best way possible.

The word panoply, if you’re wondering (and I was), has three meanings, according to Dictionary.com

pan·o·ply [pan-uh-plee] 

–noun, plural -plies.

1. a wide-ranging and impressive array or display:
    the dazzling panoply of the maharaja’s procession; the panoply of European history.
2. a complete suit of armor.
3. a protective covering.
Panoply is reminiscent of a long-time favorite word of mine: plethora, which means overabundance or excess. So, a step or two beyond panoply, I guess. The word plethora became ingrained in my mind after multiple viewings of “The Three Amigos”, starring the holy trinity of modern slapstick: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short. If you haven’t seen it, the Amigos face off against a troop of mean and idiotic bandits in the story, led by El Guapo (not Rich Garces). It’s El Guapo’s 40th birthday and his right hand man, Jefe, is describing to El Guapo the decorations for the birthday celebration.
You can enjoy their exchange here:

Feel free to leave an original sentence using panoply or plethora in the comments. I hope you have a plethora, or at the very least, a panoply of pinatas at YOUR next birthday….

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