Discus vs. Discuss

I received a question from the Peanut Gallery while I was on vacation Up North visiting my Yankee relatives. Paola from Colombia could not find the difference between “discus” and “discuss” on the WordTrubble.com website I had recommended, and she thought it would make a good Tip of the Day.

Discuss means to talk in detail about a topic, presenting various options and their pros and cons, with the goal of reaching a conclusion or convincing someone. Professional discussions should not lead to cussing, which means to curse or use swear words. But that is a good way to remember the distinction between “discuss” and “discus,” which is basically a disk. Pronunciation is another way to distinguish these words. Dis-CUSS has the accent on the last syllable, whereas DISC-us has the accent on the first
syllable.

A discus is a smooth, round, heavy disk made of plastic or wood or fiberglass that is thicker in the center than it is on the edges, i.e., lenticular or convex lens-shaped. Think of it as a solid Frisbee with a solid metal core. The discus is thrown for distance in track and field and Olympic competitions. It dates back to before 700 BC.

In the Olympics, men throw a 2-kilogram discus, and women throw a 1-kilogram discus. The person throwing the discus starts in a circle and spins around to gain momentum, then releases the discus, sending it spinning forward like a spaceship as far as possible, but it must land within a 35° sector.

Fun Discus Facts:
Men’s World Record: 74.08 m by Jurgen Schult of Germany in 1986
Women’s World Record: 76.80 m by Gabriele Reinsch of Germany in 1988

Yes, that’s right, she threw it farther than he did. But she had the advantage of a discus that weighed half what his did, rather like the Ladies Tee on the golf course (I love that). But you must admit, this gives a whole new meaning to “throwing like a girl.”

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Profound Quote of the Day:
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1884-1962
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