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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.

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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.

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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
Thanks, WikiMedia!

---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
Thanks, WikiMedia!

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/776851.html
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dorbug

Jun. 11th, 2019 | 07:41 am

dorbug (DOR-bug) - n., any of various beetles that fly with a buzzing/droning sound, esp. a) a common European dung beetle (Geotrupes stercorarius) and b) any of various American beetles also called June bugs.


Also, dorbeetle, dorfly, and buzzard clock. The June bugs are varied -- the name encompasses the green June beetle (Cotinis nitida) of the southeastern US, the ten-lined June beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata) of the western US and Canada, the figeater beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) of the southwestern US, and the genus Phyllophaga (with over 900 members). The figeater is local to me:

dorbug
Thanks, WikiMedia!

The dor- part goes back to Middle English dorre/dore, from Old English dora, bumblebee, akin to Middle Low German dorte, drone, Old English drān, drone.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/776691.html
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kittle

Jun. 10th, 2019 | 07:40 am

Okay, family stuff cleared away -- back to regular posting, starting with another grabbag week of words learned from Words With Friends solo mode, or WTFWWF 8:


kittle (KIT-l) - v., to tickle; to perplex. adj., ticklish; (Scot.) not easily managed, touchy, unpredictable.


Also, as a verb, to bear kittens, but I think the def is complicated enough as it is. In this form (to order spelling) this goes back to at least Middle English kitillen, but there's an Old English root and German and Icelandic cognates kitzeln and kitla, both meaning to tickle.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/776370.html
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typhlobasia

May. 31st, 2019 | 07:48 am

typhlobasia (tif-luh-BAY-see-uh) - n., kissing with the eyes closed.


This rarely shows up anywhere but lists of obscure words (such as this one), but it's a doozy of an obscure word. Appears to have been coined from Greek tuphlós, blind + Latin bāsium, kiss.
Close your eyes and I'll kiss you,
Tomorrow I'll miss you
—The Beatles

---L.

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bibliotaph

May. 30th, 2019 | 07:55 am

bibliotaph (BIB-lee-uh-taf) - n., someone who hoards away books.


Not just a book collector, but one who locks away or otherwise shuts them up, keeping them from use -- literally, from the Greek roots, book-burial. . Libraries should not hire these. If you want a form that better signals a person, there's the even rarer form bibliotaphist, but that doesn't roll off the tongue as well.


Admin Note: Posting will likely be light and irregular over the next couple weeks due to external obligations.

---L.

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orogeny

May. 29th, 2019 | 07:49 am

orogeny (aw-ROJ-uh-nee) - n., the process of mountain formation, especially by folding or faulting of the earth's crust.


That last clause to distinguish it from large areas lifted up without wrinkling, forming broad plateaus by epeirogeny. (You can forget that last word unless you're a geologist, in which case you already knew it anyway.) Orogeny is one of those lovely to say words that unfortunately doesn't have much metaphoric applications and limited reason to use. It was imported in 1890 by American geologyst G. K. Gilbert from French orogénie, where it was coined from Greek roots óros, mountain + geneia, creation/birth. One way of orogeny:

Mountains in the middle
Thanks, WikiMedia!

---L.

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