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balkanize


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 10, 2019 is:

balkanize • BAWL-kuh-nyze  • verb

1 : to break up (a region, a group, etc.) into smaller and often hostile units

2 : divide, compartmentalize

Examples:

“Tech companies and civil rights advocates warn that the increasing push by nations to create their own internet rules will Balkanize the internet and potentially lead to privacy violations and the stifling of political dissent.” — Cecilia Kang and Katie Benner, The New York Times, 7 Jan. 2017

“Historical scholarship had become Balkanized into dozens of subfields and specialized methodologies, many of them virtually inaccessible to lay readers or even to specialists in other subfields.” — James M. McPherson, The New York Times Book Review, 19 Sept. 1999

Did you know?

The Balkan Peninsula of southeastern Europe is lapped by the Adriatic Sea in the west and the Black Sea in the east. It is named for the Balkan Mountains, a mountain range which extends from its border with Serbia to the Black Sea. (Balkan derives from the Ottoman Turkish balḳān, meaning “wooded mountain or mountain range.”) The Balkan States are commonly characterized as comprising Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia, with mainland portions of Greece and the European portion of Turkey often being included as well. The English word balkanize (often written with a capital B) is the lexical offspring of geography and history: the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century led to a series of revolts that accelerated the fracturing of the region into a number of smaller states whose unstable coexistence led to violence that came to a head in World War I. Since the early 20th century, balkanize and its related noun, balkanization, have come to refer to the kind of divisive action that can weaken countries or groups, as well as other things.

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