`cynosure’

A cynosure is the centre of attraction; everyone is drawn to the person or object. Anything that can serve as a guide is a cynosure. The word is mostly used in formal contexts.

There are several ways of pronouncing this word. Some people pronounce the `cy’ like the `si’ in `sit’, `sip’ and sin’, and the following `o’ like the `a’ in `china’. The `s’ sounds like the `z’ in `zip’ and `zoo’, and the final `ure’ like the `ure’ in `pure’, and `cure’. The stress is on the first syllable. Others pronounce the `y’ in the first syllable like the `y’ in `my’ and `by’, and the `s’ in the third syllable like the `sh’ in `should’ and `sheep’.

Example: The young bride didn’t even realise that she was the cynosure of all eyes.

The word `cynosure’ comes from the Greek `kynosoura’ meaning `dog’s tail’. In ancient sailing charts, the North Star was referred to as `cynosure’ because sailors used it as a guide to navigate the seas.

 Source: ‘Know Your English’ ( The Hindu) -April 30, 2007 

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