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tregetour

Feb. 15th, 2018 | 07:56 am

1word1day: tregetour

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philematology

Feb. 14th, 2018 | 07:49 am

philematology (fi-leh-muh-TOHL-oh-jee) - n., the study of kissing.


Technically, the scientific study, but amateur investigations can be humorously so named. Probably coined in English from Greek roots phílēma, a kiss + -ology, but also independently coined in Latin in 1659 (in a book titled Speculum philēmatologías, or Mirror of Philematology published in Germany).

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/696001.html
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graupel

Feb. 13th, 2018 | 08:01 am

graupel (GROW-puhl) - n., precipitation in the form of snow pellets.


(So, first syllable rhymes with cow.) Which happens when the snowflakes get a coating of ice by passing through supercooled water. Sometimes called soft hail, because unlike all-ice hail, they can fall apart when touched. First seen in English in a 1889 weather report, adopted from German, where it was named as a diminutive of Graupe, hulled grain (esp. barley).

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/695686.html
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havelock

Feb. 12th, 2018 | 07:58 am

havelock (HAV-lok) - n., an attachment for a cap that covers and protects the back of the neck and ears from the sun.


Including an improvised handkerchief over the neck held in place with the cap. Living in a desert, I see these a lot (and have a cap that used to have a snap-on one, long since detached and lost) but didn't have a better word for it than "neck-flap." Now I know. This is an Americanism that first appeared in 1861, supposedly named after Sir Henry Havelock (1795-1857), an English general in India, which ... doesn't quite make sense.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/695334.html
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cervine / cervisial

Feb. 9th, 2018 | 07:53 am

cervine (SUR-vayn, SUR-vin) - adj., relating to or resembling deer.

cervisial (sur-VEE-see-uhl) - adj., relating to or resembling beer.


Oh what a difference those mirror image lowercase letters make. The former was coined in 1826 from Latin cervinus, of a deer, from cervus, stag/deer. The latter is a jocular late-18th century coinage from Latin cervisia, beer.

And that's the week in doublets. Back next week or two with the usual lexical sumgullion.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/695145.html
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eyot / ait

Feb. 8th, 2018 | 07:52 am

1word1day: eyot and/or ait

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/694906.html
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conger / congeries

Feb. 7th, 2018 | 07:42 am

conger (KONG-ger) - n., any large marine eel of the family Congridae, esp. Conger conger.

congeries (kon-JEER-eez, KON-juh-reez) - n. (taking singular or plural verb), a collection of items or parts in one mass, assemblage, aggregation, heap.


Note that there's no singular form congery -- so while saying "a congeries of laundry lies on the floor" sounds odd, it is grammatically correct. The eel name first appeared in the 1200s in Middle English form kunger/congre, from Old French congre, from Latin conger, from Greek góngros, sea-eel, with a root meaning of gnarl/bump. The heap first appeared in the 1610s from Latin, from congerere, to pile up, from gerere, to carry.

Conger eel
Thanks, Wikimedia!

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/694731.html
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collop / lollop

Feb. 6th, 2018 | 07:42 am

collop (KOL-uhp) - n., a small slice or piece, especially of meat; a fold of fat flesh.

lollop (LOL-uhp) - v., to walk with a relaxed bouncing or bobbing motion.


So one should not ask for a lollop of ham. I'm including these as a confusable doublets because, well, I've been known to confuse them. Collop dates back to the 14th century, of uncertain origin but possibly a Scandinavian language as several have cognates. Lollop dates from around 1740, composed of loll, to move with a lazy motion + -op, on the pattern of gallop but with the opposite meaning.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/694350.html
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antinomy / antimony

Feb. 5th, 2018 | 07:38 am

Another theme week -- doublets, especially easily confused doublets, starting with:


antinomy (an-TIN-uh-mee) - n., an opposition or contradiction between two laws, principles, etc.; a logical paradox; a fundamental and apparently unresolvable conflict or contradiction.

antimony (AN-tuh-moh-nee) - n., a brittle, white metallic element (symbol Sb, atomic number 51).


Two classics examples of logical antinomies are "There is no absolute truth" (which sets itself up as one) and "This sentence is a lie" (in which case it is); a classic example of the contradiction antinomy is freedom and slavery. It was adopted around 1590 via Latin from Greek antinomía, a contradiction between laws.

Antimony is a very soft metal, so its uses are largely as compounds -- antimony sulfide is the Egyptian cosmetic kohl. Its name is from Medieval Latin antimonium, which is attested as far back as the eleventh century, origin unknown (there's several competing, and unconvincing, theories). The elemental symbol is from stibium, the Latinization of, stimmi, the Greek name for it, itself of unknown origin but probably Egyptian mśdmt, which according to later Arabic tradition was read as mesdemet.

A hunk of silvery antimony
Thanks, Wikimedia!

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/694171.html
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retroussé

Feb. 2nd, 2018 | 07:41 am

retroussé (re-troo-SAY, ruh-troo-SAY) - adj., (esp. of a nose) turned up at the end.


Victoria Beckham’s retroussé nose
Promotional image

With the strong connotation, in an attractive way. Tip-tilted is the native English phrase. Adopted around 1800 from, clearly, French retroussé, where it was first used in this sense in the 16th century, formed as a past-participle adjective from retrousser, to turn up.

---L.

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