Thursday word: lunt

Thursday, October 19th, 2017 02:53 pm
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Posted by prettygoodword

Time for one of those four-letter words, if you know what I mean:

lunt (LUNT) - (Scot.) n., a slow-burning match or fuse; smoke esp. from a tobacco pipe. v., to produce or emit smoke.

This dates back to at least the 1540s, and comes from Dutch lont, match/fuse, and is akin to Middle Low German lunte, match/wick, but where it comes from before that I can't find.

See? A four-letter word.


Monday-ish word: celerity

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 02:23 am
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Posted by ersatz_read

celerity (sə-lĕr′ĭ-tē), noun

Swiftness; speed.

The word itself is little used in conversation these days, but it does live on in the names of various companies.

Etymology:  Latin celeritas, swiftness.  Think 'accelerate'.

'Celery' has unrelated origins (from selinon, parsley).

This week's word comes from the introduction to Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman.

Friday word: Tarrasque

Saturday, October 14th, 2017 12:24 am
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Posted by med_cat

In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, the tarrasque (/tɒˈræsk/ tah-RASK)[1][2] is a magical beast.

The tarrasque is a gigantic lizard-like creature which exists only to eat, kill, and destroy. In most campaign settings, only one tarrasque is said to exist on each world. The tarrasque has a low intelligence and cannot speak. It is neutrally aligned, for despite its violent and savage nature, it lacks the mental capacity to choose between good and evil.

The tarrasque was introduced to the D&D game in the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. It is based upon the French legend of the tarasque.

(from Wikipedia, more here)

Thursday word: cortinate

Thursday, October 12th, 2017 02:52 pm
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Posted by prettygoodword

cortinate (KOR-ti-nayt) - adj., cobweb-like.

Or sometimes more specifically, in botany, having a cortina, which is cobwebby remnant of the partial veil hanging from the edges of the cap of some mushrooms, particularly genus Cortinarius. But just cobwebby in general is good enough for me. Borrowed or coined around 1830 (no doubt by a naturalist) from Latin cortīna, curtain (and not, as you might expect, the Latin for cobweb, which is arānea).

My old Ford Cortina was very cortinate, having being colonized by spiders.


Monday-ish word: jess

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 03:55 am
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Posted by ersatz_read

jess (jĕs)
plural jesses
(noun) A short strap fastened around the leg of a hawk or other bird used in falconry.
(verb) To put jesses on.

Etymology:  old French jet, something thrown

Last year I stumbled across a barn sale that had a box of free items, including a frog song identification cassette tape and a well-worn pair of jesses.  I took the frog tape and left the falconry equipment.  Tough call, but I have a cassette player, and I don't have a falcon.

Friday word: Iota

Friday, October 6th, 2017 08:42 pm
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Posted by med_cat

"I want you should sell to me. I don't say what I'm going to do with the property, and you will not have an iota of responsibility, whatever happens."
—William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham, 1885

Iota is the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet, equivalent to our letter i. Latin scholars transcribed the Greek name as iota and jota, and both iota and jot represent the name for the Greek letter in English.

The letter's slightness of shape led to the use of iota to mean "a small amount." It is often used in negative contexts, such as "not one iota of truth."

Jot, incidentally, appears in the phrase every jot and tittle, referring to small details. The word tittle refers to the dot that we place over a lowercase i or j.

(source: Merriam-Webster Online)

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