Oct. 18th, 2017 07:49 am
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frit (FRIT) - n., the calcined or partially fused mixture of sand and fluxes used to make glass; a vitreous substance used in making porcelain, glazes, or enamels.

By vitreous is meant it was glass but now has been granulated. The latter is the more common meaning -- the stuff that, once melted, will be turned into glass glassmakers now more commonly called a glass batch. Adopted around 1660 from Italian fritta, from feminine past participle of friggere, to fry, from Latin frīgere, to roast/fry, referring to the calcining preprocessing. (SO, yes, a fritter is something fried.)



Oct. 17th, 2017 07:56 am
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corm (KORM) - n., a short, swollen underground stem of a plant used as a storage organ for winter or times of drought.

Cultivated plants with corms include crocus, gladiolus, some irises, taro, and arrowhead. Different from a tuber, which is a swollen root or rhizome and can be used for propagation, and a bulb, which has layers (see: onion). Adopted in the 1820s from French corme, from Latin cormus, from Ancient Greek kormós, trunk stripped of its boughs, from keírein to cut off/hew.



Oct. 16th, 2017 07:53 am
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Theme week! -- four-letter words.

corf (KORF) - n., a small wagon, sled, basket, etc. for carrying coal, ore, etc. in a mine; a basket or cage used to contain live fish, lobsters, etc. underwater.

The first is primarily British usage. In Middle English this meant generally any basket, from either Middle Dutch corf or Middle Low German korf, both probably from Latin corbis, basket.


Oct. 13th, 2017 07:49 am
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hadeharia - n., the practice of constantly using "hell" in conversation.

Not a common term. Not sure it's useful either. Not sure of the etymology, but I'm pretty sure that's Hades at the start.



Oct. 11th, 2017 07:44 am
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grilse (GRILS) - n., a young Atlantic salmon that has returned to fresh water to spawn after (only) one year.

Yes, there's a word for that: at different points in life cycle, Atlantic salmon are known as parr, smolt, grilse, grilt, kelt, or slink. Grilse are small for adult salmon -- if they wait till their second, third, or fourth year to spawn, the salmon are bigger (and better sport fishing). Dates back to Middle English, of unknown origin, though one dictionary suggests Welsh gleisiad, from glas, blue.



Oct. 10th, 2017 07:59 am
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edacious (i-DAY-shuhs) - adj., voracious, devouring.

More generally, related to eating, but the connotation of the Latin root, edere, was voracious consumption, and that carried over into English -- in part because of Ovid's line tempus edax rerum, time devours everything. This is a surprisingly late import into English -- first used in 1829, though note that edacity dates from the 1620s.



Oct. 9th, 2017 07:46 am
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Should have run this on Friday -- ah, well.

dactylonomy (dak-til-oh-NOH-mee) - n., the art of counting on one's fingers.

Different cultures use different fingering systems for enumerating just up to ten -- and then there are various systems for counting and adding/subtracting after that. Fun stuff. Wikipedia's article is not great, but is still interesting. Coined from Greek daktulos, finger + –nomia, law, used in the sense of an area of knowledge.



Oct. 6th, 2017 07:45 am
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lateritious (lat-uh-RISH-uhs) - adj., of, resembling, or having the color of red brick.

There's a word for brick-red -- a Latinate one, no less: adopted in the 1650s from Latin laterīcius, from later, brick + an adjectival ending denoting a material.

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1word1day: dactyliomancy, plus bonus word dactyliology


Oct. 4th, 2017 07:50 am
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stygian (STIJ-ee-uhn) - adj., dark or gloomy; infernal, hellish; (capitalized) of, pertaining to, or resembling the River Styx.

The former meanings being metaphoric extensions of the last. The Styx is, of course, one of the rivers of the Greek underworld, specifically the one that the dead cross in Charon's boat, and the -g- comes from the way the name stems as a combining form. First known English use is from 1513.



Oct. 3rd, 2017 07:45 am
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alveolate (al-VEE-uh-layt) - adj., pitted like a honeycomb.

Connotation is that the pits are not shallow, but are more like the cells of a honeycomb. Adopted in the 1830s from Latin alveolātus, forming a channel/hollowed, from alveolus, little cavity/pit/cell, from alveus, concave.



Oct. 2nd, 2017 07:59 am
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Okay, before I got distracted by a kidney stone, I was in the middle of a theme week of Flower Fairies. Here's what was scheduled to be the last of that series:

knapweed (NAP-weed) - n., any composite plant of the genus Centaurea, especially the weedy C. nigra, with purplish thistle-like flowers.

There are between 350 and 600 species, depending on who's doing the counting, and some species are highly invasive. Also called centaury (though there's an unrelated genus also called that), centory, hardheads, starthistles, and sometimes even cornflower (also unrelated to the regular cornflowers). This name first showed up in the early 15th century as knopwed, from knop, alternate form of knob + wed, alternate form of weed.

Knapweed Fairy

Oh, please, little children, take note of my name:
To call me a thistle is really a shame:
I’m harmless old Knapweed, who grows on the chalk,
I never will prick you when out for your walk.

Yet I should be sorry, yes, sorry indeed,
To cut your small fingers and cause them to bleed;
So bid me Good Morning when out for your walk,
And mind how you pull at my very tough stalk.
—Cicely Mary Barker

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circumbendibus (sur-kuhm-BEN-duh-buhs) - n., circuitous path, roundabout way, circumlocution.

Can be either a physical path or a way of writing/speaking. Coined in the 17th century as mock Latin, from Latin root circum-, around + English bend + Latin ablative plural ending -ibus.


Sep. 20th, 2017 07:53 am
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aconite (AK-uh-nait) - n., any of about 250 plants, many of them poisonous, belonging to the genus Aconitum (in the buttercup family) having irregular flowers usually in loose clusters; any of around eight closely related plants of the genus Eranthis, more usually called winter aconite.

Also called monkshood, wolfsbane, leopardsbane, mousebane, women's bane, devil's helmet, queen of poisons, and blue rocket. Monkshood is especially applied to A. napellus, which was cultivated for medicinal purposes (and used very carefully because poisonous. Winter aconite is among the first flowers of spring where they grow. The word is from French aconit, from Latin aconītum, from Greek akonīton, the name of the plant, of uncertain origin.

Winter Aconite Fairy

Deep in the earth
I woke, I stirred.
I said: “Was that the Spring I heard?
For something called!”
“No, no,” they said;
“Go back to sleep. Go back to bed.

Up, up, I climbed,
“You’re far too soon;
The world’s too cold
For you, so small.” So I was told.
But how could I
Go back to sleep?
I could not wait; I had to peep!

And here am I.
How wide the earth! How great the sky!
O wintry world,
See me, awake!
Spring calls, and comes; ’tis no mistake.
—Cicely Mary Barker



Sep. 19th, 2017 07:49 am
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gaillardia (GAY-lahr-dee-uh) - n., any of several American composite flowers of the genus Gaillardia widely cultivated for their large red, yellow, or bicolored flower heads.

Also called blanket flower, possibly because of colors that look like Native American blankets. Named in the 1880s for Gaillard de Charentonneau, an 18th-century French amateur botanist and patron of botany.

Gaillardia Fairy

There once was a child in a garden,
Who loved all my colours of flame,
The crimson and scarlet and yellow—
But what was my name?

For Gaillardia’s hard to remember!
She looked at my yellow and red,
And thought of the gold and the glory
When the sun goes to bed;

And she troubled no more to remember,
But gave me a splendid new name;
She spoke of my flowers as Sunsets—
Then you do the same!
—Cicely Mary Barker



Sep. 18th, 2017 07:47 am
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Theme week: flower fairies.

fumitory (FYOO-mi-tawr-ee, FYOO-mi-tohr-ee) - n., any of various Eurasian annual plants (genus Fumaria, esp. F. officinalis) having small, grey-green leaves and small, spurred, purplish flowers.

Also called fumewart and earthsmoke, the latter being a translation of the Latin-via-French name, fūmus, smoke + terrae, of the earth, apparently named after the color of the leaves.

Fumitory Fairy

Given me hundreds of years ago,
My name has a meaning you shall know:
It means, in the speech of the bygone folk,
“Smoke of the Earth”—a soft green smoke!

A wonderful plant to them I seemed;
Strange indeed were the dreams they dreamed,
Partly fancy and partly true,
About “Fumiter” and the way it grew.

Where men have ploughed or have dug the ground,
Still, with my rosy flowers, I’m found;
Known and prized by the bygone folk
As “Smoke of the Earth”—a soft green smoke!
—Cicely Mary Barker



Sep. 15th, 2017 07:38 am
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russet (RUHS-it) - n., dark reddish-brown.

Also, a coarse homespun cloth of this color (dyed with woad and madder), clothes of this cloth, apples with a rough skin with this color, and potatoes with skin of this color. This one goes back to Anglo-Norman, from Old French rousset/rosset, used for both the color and the cloth, from rus/rous, reddish brown (and red hair) + diminutive ending, from Latin russus, akin to Latin ruber, red.


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