Word of the Day: BYZANTINE
Byzantine (adj) - excessively complex, intricate, or convoluted; marked by overly complicated administrative detail; of or relating to the ancient city of Byzantium [biz-uhn-teen]
BREAKDOWN: The word Byzantine (sometimes byzantine) is a toponym, which is a place-name or a word named for a place. The place in this case is the mighty Greek city of Byzantium, which later became Constantinople and then Istanbul. The seat of the Medieval Roman Empire deserves fame for many reasons, but we mainly evoke its name today to describe painfully complex or convoluted bureaucracies.
“People expect Byzantine, Machiavellian logic from politicians. But the truth is simple. Trial lawyers learn a good rule: 'Don't decide what you don't have to decide.' That's not evasion, it's wisdom.” —Mario Cuomo
[Our Wednesday Wildcards are fascinating and important words that are not derived from classical roots.]