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Aug. 29th, 2016 | 07:57 am

trilithon (trey-LITH-on, TREY-luh-THON) or trilith - n., a structure consisting of two stone pillars supporting a horizontal stone.

A megalithic structure, that is -- best known from the five at Stonehenge. The top stone is the lintel, just as for a door, and the uprights are posts. Adopted in the 1740s from Greek trílithon, neuter of trílithos, having three stones, from tri-, three + lithos, stone.


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Aug. 26th, 2016 | 07:59 am

1word1day: orlop

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Aug. 23rd, 2016 | 08:24 am

ponceau (pon-SOH) - n., a vivid red to reddish-orange color. adj., having this color.

The color, specifically, of the corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas). Also, sometimes specifically, the generic name for a family of azo dyes, including a couple food coloring and histology stains. Name is from the French name for the corn poppy, origin uncertain but there's speculation that it might be a diminutive of paon (from Latin pāvōn-, stem of pāvō), peacock.


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Aug. 22nd, 2016 | 07:49 am

remontant (ri-MON-tuhnt) - adj., flowering more than once a season.

Usually only used for roses. Adopted in the 1880s from French, where as the present participle of remonter, to remount, it has the figurative meaning of coming up again.


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Aug. 19th, 2016 | 07:56 am

For our ultimate word of this week's theme:

ultimate (UHL-tuh-mit) - adj., the ending of a process or series, last, furthest or farthest; highest, most significant, not subsidiary; basic, fundamental, elemental, essential; most extreme, conclusive; final, total.

Adopted by Sir Thomas Browne in 1640 from Late Latin ultimatus, past participle of ultimare, to be final/come to an end, from ultimus, last/final, superlative of ulter, beyond/distant.

Back next week to the regular lexical mishmash.


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Aug. 18th, 2016 | 07:45 am

1word1day: herbaceous

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Aug. 17th, 2016 | 07:47 am

carnivorous (kahr-NIV-er-uhs) - adj., eating meat; of or relating to the carnivores (a family of mammals); predatory, rapacious.

Adopted by Browne in the 1640s from Latin carnivorus, from carō, flesh + vorāre, to consume.


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Aug. 16th, 2016 | 07:51 am

pubescent (pyoo-BES-uhnt) - adj., reaching or having reached puberty.

Also a botanical sense: covered with down or fine short hair, but that's not important right now. Adopted in 1646 by Sir Thomas Browne from Latin pūbēscent-, the stem form of pūbēscēns, present participle of pūbēscere, to reach puberty, from pūbēs, adult. Note that the word puberty had already been borrowed over two centuries before.


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Aug. 15th, 2016 | 08:35 am

Theme week! Words first used by Sir Thomas Browne, a 17th century writer with a notably Latinate prose style, who coined or adopted from Latin many words now in daily use. Well, this one is more like weekly use, but it's such a wonderful one:

antediluvian (an-tee-di-LOO-vee-uhn) - adj., of or belonging to the period of the Noachian Flood, or of before a flood; very old-fashioned and out-of-date, antiquated.

This is a 1646 coinage from Latin roots, rather than an adoption of an existing Latin word, which Browne used for the first meaning given -- by 1700, however, it had taken on the metaphoric extension of being so old that it's as if they/it predated the flood. Said roots being ante-, before + dīluvium, flood/deluge, literally a washing away, from dis-, away + -luere, combining form of lavere, to wash. My favorite use is in The Hunting of the Snark: "As the man they call'd “Ho!” told his story of woe / In an antediluvian tone."


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Aug. 12th, 2016 | 08:03 am

jabiru (JAB-uh-roo, jab-uh-ROO) - n., a large tropical New World stork (Jabiru mycteria; (Australia) the Asian black-necked stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus).

The two are closely related, and both have white plumage and a naked black neck. The first is found throughout the Americas from Mexico south, except west of the Andes. The name arrived around 1640 via Portuguese jabirú, from the Tupí-Guarani name for the bird, literally "swollen [neck]."


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