Vocab in the Movies: Avatar
When the film Avatar came out, many online dictionaries reported that avatar was one of the most frequently looked up words for the month.
In Hinduism, an avatar is an incarnation of a god. On the internet, an avatar is a small image a user chooses to represent him or herself. In regular speech, however, an avatar is “an embodiment or personification, as of a principle, attitude, or view of life.” As in, “Having traveled the world with a backpack, I consider Dora the Explorer the avatar of my peripatetic lifestyle.”
Other words you can use in a similar way include apotheosis, archetype, epitome, exemplar, and quintessence.
The coq au vin is the epitome of French cuisine.
Torture is the quintessence of evil.
Jason Statham is an exemplar of action heroes.
Her role in the play wasn’t well-developed; the character was simply an earth-mother archetype who served as a foil to the crafty — and more modernized — leading role.
Avatar is one of those words everyone thinks he knows — until you ask him for a definition. You are now one of the few people who knows how to use the word when you’re not on Pandora!
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