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athlete - Derived from Greek athlon, "prize" or "contest"—which also gives us triathlon (etc.); it should be pronounced ATH-leet—with two syllables, not three. More...
cakewalk - Started out as a competitive dance whose winner got a cake as a prize. More...
premium - First meant "prize, reward." More...
taking the cake - Once meant literally winning the prize of a cake, awarded in a cakewalk. More...