Word of the Week (192): TUCHUN (probability 20772), by David Sutton

A TUCHUN was a Chinese military governor; the word is Chinese.

Since throughout human history the offices of government and military power have been closely intertwined or even synonymous, it is not surprising to find a good number of words denoting a similar role in other societies. For example, WAIVODE (with variants VAIVODE, VOIVODE, WAIWODE, WAYWODE and WOIWODE) was originally a military commander in various Slavonic countries; afterwards the title was applied to governors of towns or provinces.

A SHOGUN was a hereditary military governor of Japan; this yields SHOGUNATE, the office of shogun, and an adjective SHOGUNAL. PASHA or PACHA was a title given a Turkish governor or military commander; his office was a PASHALIC, PASHADOM, PACHALIC or PACHADOM.

ALCADE (with variants ALCAIDE, ALCALDE and ALCAYDE) is an Arabic word for the governor of a fortress.

And nearer home, we have our own ancient word for a warlord holding supreme power, a PENDRAGON. The most famous pendragon was of course King Arthur.


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