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fohn

Mar. 8th, 2019 | 07:36 am

fohn or foehn or föhn (FAYN, FOEN) - n., a warm dry wind that blows down the north side of the Alps; any similar warm dry wind blowing down a mountain.


It is a rain-shadow wind -- after the moist Mediterranean air drops its rain on the windward slopes, the air undergoes adiabatic warming on the leeward slopes, and falls down into the valleys. Fohn winds can raise the temperatures by quite a lot (up to 14 °C/25 °F) in minutes. From German Föhn, originally an Alpine dialect word, from Old High German phōnno/phonno, from Vulgar Latin *faōnius, alteration of Latin favōnius, west wind, from Favōnius, a Roman wind god.


And that wraps up the fifth week of short obscure words learned from Words With Friends solo mode. Back next week with ... another theme week, one I've been waiting on for a while.

---L.

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pogy

Mar. 7th, 2019 | 08:19 am

pogy (POH-gee, POG-ee) - n., any of about seven species of marine fishes (genera Brevoortia and Ethmidium) fished for fish oil and fish meal, better known as menhaden.


Also, sometimes, alternate form for porgy (another kind of fish) and pogey (Canadian slang for unemployment relief or charitable support in general). Then name is an Americanism from Maine, a shortening of poghaden/paughagen, the Abenaki version of the Algonquian, probably specifically Narragansett, name for the fish (munnawhatteaûg) that gave us menhaden. A Gulf menhaden (Brevoortia patronus):

Pogy-the-fish
Thanks, WikiMedia!

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/760873.html
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pula

Mar. 6th, 2019 | 07:37 am

pula (POO-lah) - n., the basic monetary unit of Botswana.


100 thebe make 1 pula. Introduced in 1976 to replace the South African rand -- the name means rain in Tswana/Setswana, which is also a greeting/blessing down there in the Kalahari Desert. A 1 pula coin:

1 BWP
Thanks, WikiMedia!

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/760796.html
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zoon

Mar. 5th, 2019 | 07:54 am

zoon (ZOH-on), pl. zoa (ZOH-ah) - n., an individual animal produced from an egg; any of the individuals of a compound organism.


Coined in 1864 by Herbert Spencer from Latin zōon, from Ancient Greek zôion, animal/living being. Useful when you have a Z and lots of vowels.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/760320.html
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ulu

Mar. 4th, 2019 | 07:43 am

And we're back again with our fifth week of words learned from playing Word With Friends in solo mode, or WTF WWF 5 -- this time focusing on short words:


ulu (OO-loo) or ulo (OO-loh) - n., an all-purpose knife used by Eskimo-Aleut women with a broad rounded blade joined to a short haft centered on the unsharpened side.


An Alaskan ulu
Thanks, WikiMedia!

So ranging across the American arctic, by the Yup'ik, Inuit, and Aleut peoples often inappropriately grouped as Eskimo. Traditionally used for, well, just about everything, from as skinning animals, cutting hair or food, as a weapon, or trimming blocks of ice/snow. English seems to have gotten the name specifically from either Inuktitut or Inupik, two closely related Iniut languages, but the name is broadly similar across the region.

(Of course, if you HAVE two Us, you're likely to be holding on to one for use with a Q, but it's still worth remembering.)

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/760135.html
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maslin

Mar. 1st, 2019 | 07:39 am

maslin (MAZ-lin) - n., a mixture, a medley, especially of different grains or flours, especially of rye and wheat; bread made of mixed rye and wheat.


For much of medieval Europe, maslin was the bread of the better off peasant, as opposed to the white manchet of the rich or the horse bread (oat or barley breads) of the poor. An earlier spelling was mesline, from Middle English mastlioun/mestlioun, from Middle French mesteillon, from Old French, from *mesteil, mixed grain, from Vulgar Latin *mixtilium, mixture, from *mixtilis, mixed/constituting a mixture, from Latin mixtus, mixed, past participle of miscēre, to mix.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/759949.html
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iceblink

Feb. 28th, 2019 | 07:44 am

iceblink (AIS-blink) - n., a glare in the sky over an ice field.


Used in polar regions to help navigate where the open water is ahead. Dateable to the 18th century, coined from ice + blink in the sense of a gleam or glimmer.

---L.

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pawky

Feb. 27th, 2019 | 07:48 am

pawky (PAW-kee) - adj., (N. Brit.) cunning, sly.


With a connotation of a having a sarcastic sense of humor: "Pawky humour is not then just dry humour. It is always pointed, it has a thrust" says one of Wiktionary's citations. Dates from the 17th century, from Scots pawk, trick, of unknown origin.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/759510.html
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coddiwomple

Feb. 26th, 2019 | 07:38 am

coddiwomple - v., to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.


Supposedly. This looks to have been coined (with the added detail of it being British slang) last year, and so far seems to have mainly been used by blogs devoted to travel and tourism. I still like it.

---L.

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apophasis

Feb. 25th, 2019 | 07:47 am

apophasis (uh-POF-uh-sis) - n., (rhet.) the rhetorical device of mentioning a subject by stating that it will not be discussed.


Also called praeteritio/preterition, paraleipsis/paralipsis, and occupatio. This can be done disingenuously: "I will not discuss the rumors that my opponent is a philanderer and adulterer, because this election will be decided not on character but on the issues." A more legitimate use is "Of course, I do not need to mention that you should bring a No. 2 pencil to the exam." It can also be used to not-discuss a taboo subject: "We are all loyal to the emperor, so wouldn't dare to claim that his new clothes are a transparent hoax." Like most rhetorical terms, from Greek, specifically apóphanai, denial to say no, deny, lit. say no, from apo-, away from/off + phánai, to say.

---L.

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