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calabash

Sep. 17th, 2019 | 07:52 am

calabash (KAL-uh-bash) - n., the bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria), grown as a vegetable (fresh) and as containers (dried); a tropical American tree (Crescentia cujete) with a similar gourd-like fruit; any of several plants with similar fruit; the fruit of all such plants; the hollowed out shell of such fruit, used as a container or utensil; a bottle, ladel, etc. made from such a shell.


A very useful thing to have, and the bottle gourd of the first sense is thought to be the first plant cultivated not for eating, or not just for eating. It's difficult to be certian, given how widespread and for how long it is grown, but it's believed to have originated in Africa. The word dates to the 1590s, from French calabasse, from Spanish calabaza, from Catalan carabaça, perhaps from Arabic qarʿah yābisah, gourd (that is) dry, from Persian xarboze, melon, possibly ultimately from Sanskrit trapusa.

Calabashes on the vine
Thanks, WikiMedia!

---L.

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plicate

Sep. 16th, 2019 | 08:00 am

plicate (PLAY-keyt) - adj., folded lengthwise like a fan, pleated. v., to pleat.


Or like a palm frond -- which example is not chosen at random, as biology is the most common domain for this. Taken in the 1760s from Latin plicātus, past participle of plicāre, to fold.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/792302.html
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nocturnal

Sep. 13th, 2019 | 07:40 am

nocturnal (nok-TUR-nl) - adj., of, relating to, active in, or occurring in the nighttime.


Opposite of diurnal. Dates to the 15th century, from Late Latin nocturnālis, from Latin nocturnus, from nox.

And that's a week of times of the day. Back next week with the usual assortment of words from anywhere.

---L.

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vespertine

Sep. 12th, 2019 | 07:54 am

vespertine (VES-per-tin, VES-per-teen) - adj., of, pertaining to, or occurring in the evening.


So the dusk-only part of crepuscular. (I kinda did these in the wrong order.) Some flowers and animals are vespertine. Taken around 1500 from Latin vespertīnus, from vesper, evening.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/791732.html
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crepuscular

Sep. 11th, 2019 | 07:42 am

crepuscular (kri-PUHS-kyuh-ler) - adj., of, related to, or resembling twilight, dim; active or occurring at dawn or dusk or both.


Bats, fireflies, and so on -- though if active during only dawn, matutinal is preferred, and if only at dusk, (spoiler alert!) vespertine. Since the 1660s, from New Latin crepusculāris, from Latin crepusculum, twilight, of obscure origin.

---L.

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diurnal

Sep. 10th, 2019 | 07:40 am

diurnal (dahy-UR-nl) - adj., of, relating to, or occurring in the daytime; occurring daily.


Dates to the 14th century, from Late Latin diurnālis, from Latin diurnus, from diēs, day -- which makes it a cognate of journal, in the daily sense.

---L.

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matutinal

Sep. 9th, 2019 | 07:47 am

Theme week! -- times of the day, beginning with:


matutinal (muh-TOOT-n-l, muh-TYOOT-n-l) - adj., of, relating to, or occurring in the morning; early.


Especially either during dawn or just after waking. Okay, so this may have been a leettle cruel to toss at you on a Monday. Taken over in 1567 from Late Latin mātūtinālis, belonging to the morning/early, from Latin mātūtīnus, of the morning, from (Mater) Mātūta, Roman goddess of dawn.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/790870.html
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thalattosaur

Sep. 6th, 2019 | 07:45 am

thalattosaur (thah-LAHT-uh-sawr) - n., a group of prehistoric marine reptiles from the mid-late Triassic period with long flattened tails and clawed feet.


Back when I did a theme week of perhistoric marine reptiles from the age of dinosaurs, I didn't know about these. More closely related to lizards than dinosaurs (and looking more like them, too) but the exact cladistic relationship is uncertain.

Thalattosaur does what thalattosaurs do
Thanks, WikiMedia!

Name was coined by paleontologist John C. Merriam in 1904 from Greek roots meaning ocean-lizard.

---L.

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aciniform

Sep. 5th, 2019 | 07:45 am

aciniform (uh-SIN-uh-form) - adj., shaped like a cluster of grapes.


Alternate form: acinous, or consisting of multiple acini or globules, such as a blackberry. Which makes a good example of something that's shaped like a cluster of grapes. From Latin acinus, grape.

---L.

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toadstone

Sep. 4th, 2019 | 07:57 am

toadstone (TOHD-stohn) n., a mythical stone supposedly formed in the head (or sometimes belly) of a toad, worn as jewelry or amulets as an antidote for poison.


Medieval European mythology, that is, though the idea goes back to at least Pliny the Elder -- the idea is that, since toads are as everyone knows hella poisonous, they must have the antidote to their own poison, otherwise they'd kill themselves. The actual stones so set were button-like fossilized teeth of Lepidotes, a ray-finned fish from the Jurassic and Cretaceous:

Toadstones or teeth? Yes!
Thanks, WikiMedia!

Can't tell from this picture, but from others it's clear they're about an inch across.

---L.

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