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kolk

Jun. 25th, 2019 | 07:42 am

kolk or colc (KOHLK) - n., (geol.) an underwater vortex similar to a whirlwind.


Can move large boulders under the water and create deep pits. These are mostly evident form kolks formed during floods, but they also can appear in bedrock, such as the Columbia Basin scablands. The word is from Dutch, as the Dutch first identified them during dyke breaches.

A kolk in eastern Washington State
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---L.

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transilient

Jun. 24th, 2019 | 07:45 am

transilient (tran-SIL-ee-uhnt, tran-SIL-yuhnt) - adj., jumping abruptly from one thing, state, or subject to another.


A rare word, but potentially useful one as we -- SQUIRREL! I definitely saw a squirrel! with a shadow tail! which is its Greek name! -- though transilient is from the present participle of Latin transilire, to skip over/omit, from trans-, across + salīre, to leap.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/778860.html
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vigesimal

Jun. 21st, 2019 | 07:39 am

vigesimal (vai-JES-uh-muhl) - adj., of, relating to, proceeding by, occurring in intervals of, or based on the number 20.


So counting by twenties, grouping by twenties, or number systems using base 20 (such as in Mayan and Tlingit). The term is from Latin vīgēsimus, variant of vīcēsimus, twentieth.

Mayan numbers from 0 to 19
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---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/778617.html
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curn

Jun. 20th, 2019 | 07:39 am

curn (KURN) - (Scot.) n., a grain (of cereal); a small number.


Dates back to Middle English, alteration of the same root that became Modern English corn.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/778282.html
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guddle

Jun. 19th, 2019 | 07:36 am

guddle (GUHD-l) - v., to catch fish by groping with the hands in their lurking places.


That is, under banks and stones. There's also the Scottish-only senses of to feel one's way with one's hands and (as a noun) a mess or muddle. Dates from the early 19th century, origin unknown.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/778225.html
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gelotophobia

Jun. 18th, 2019 | 08:12 am

gelotophobia (ji-LAT-uh-fo-bee-uh) - n., the fear of being laughed at.


Not to be confused with gelatophobia, the fear of jello (though that looks like it ought to be fear of ice cream). Gelotophobia is a variety of social phobia -- Wikipedia has more. The root here is Greek gelos, laughter.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/777909.html
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spelunker

Jun. 17th, 2019 | 07:54 am

spelunker (spi-LUHNG-ker) - n., someone who explores caves.


Especially as a hobby. A usage note tells me that many who do this prefer to be called caver, taking spelunker as derogatory term for a unprepared caver, and several dictionaries note that the British English the term is potholer. Coined in the 1930s by New England cave explorer Roger Charles Johnson, from obsolete spelunk, cave, from Middle English, from Old French spelunque, from Latin spēlunca, from Greek spēlunx, cave. The scientist who studies caves and their formation is a speleologist.

---L.

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oroide

Jun. 14th, 2019 | 07:49 am

oroide (AWR-oh-aid, OHR-oh-aid) - n., an alloy of copper, zinc, and tin, used in imitation gold jewelry.


I know it's ultimately from Latin aurum, gold (via French or, with Greek eîdos, appearance/shape tacked on), but I keep expecting it to be something to do with mountains (from Greek óros, mountain). Possible something at erodes mountains.

And that wraps up WTFWWF 8 -- back next week with the usual mix of unsorted words. Not that this was particularly sorted, mind.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/777395.html
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cardoon

Jun. 13th, 2019 | 07:42 am

cardoon (kahr-DOON) - n., a large perennial Mediterranean thistle (Cynara cardunculus), cultivated for its edible leafstalks and roots.


One variety, C. cardunculus var. scolymus, is ye common globe artichoke -- but other varieties are also grown and eaten. The roots are yum. This name dates back to Middle English cardoun, from Old French cardon, from Old Provençal, from Late Latin cardō (combining form cardōn-), from Latin carduus, thistle/cardoon.

cardoon doing what thistles cardoon
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---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/776962.html
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requin

Jun. 12th, 2019 | 07:37 am

requin (ruh-KAN) - n., the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias).


Or, sometimes, other sharks in the same family (such as the tiger shark or blue shark) that are found in tropical and temperate waters, but that wider sense is more technically called requiem sharks -- because of very occasionally attacking people. That wider sense makes some sense, given that requin in French is generically shark (from Old French reschignier, to grimace while bearing teeth, from a Germanic root meaning to split open), but properly speaking in English we use requin for just the great white.

requin doing what great whites do
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---L.

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