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dbmag9 commented on the word spelunking
I recently discovered that this word comes from Latin (spelunca, -ae: cave). I was so shocked that I had to come here and write about it. Honestry, if I were to give a list of words that definitely weren't from Latin, this would have been pretty high up. Language can surprise us all.
The word itself means "caving". However, within the caving community there is quite a snobbery: "caving" is reserved for the circumspect, sensible professionals, whereas "spelunking" is used for those amateurs who rush into things and need rescuing later on. Hence the bumper sticker: "Cavers rescue spelunkers".
In any case, I love the sound of the word.
December 14, 2007
dbmag9 commented on the list dbmag9-s-words
Thank you. I try my best.
January 19, 2007
dbmag9 commented on the list that-mean-thing
December 8, 2006
dbmag9 commented on the word mellisma
Beloved of opera, mellisma is the technique of slurring a sound over several notes. It instantly transforms music into a fluid and flowing art form, which leaves us wondering what else it could become.
December 7, 2006
dbmag9 commented on the word soliloquy
What do I feel about this word? On the one hand it sounds beautiful: the vowels and consonants run into, over and through each other to form a word which seems to flow off my tongue. On the other hand I feel compelled to take some kind of stand against such a confusing spelling. Surely there should be an extra vowel after the "u"? Surely there should be something, well, different in it? The meaning is also not very useful: a long monologue in which the character (in a film or play) talks to himself (and to the audience) about his thoughts. Automonologue would be the far-less-elegant Greek-derived alternative. Having seen that I think I can conclude my own by saying I like it.
dbmag9 commented on the word schadenfreude
Schadenfreude seems to be one of the most primal pleasures. Television shows abound are filled with examples: man falls off ladder, child flies off swing, bucket falls onto woman. In one sense it is a valuble learning experience: you are glad you weren't in that position, and make a note not to be in it yourself. But why is it so funny? The only answer I can give is that it expresses the joy you have, build in by millenia of evolutionary conditioning, that you were not the weak one who ended the chain, that, whilst others may fail, you go on to live another day.
dbmag9 commented on the word effervescence
A gentle bubbling, glowing or sparkling. This is what objects in happy memories do.
dbmag9 commented on the word petrichor
It seems ironic that we venerate petrichor, that essence of the earth and the rain, on the most unnatural of media (or is it?), the internet.
dbmag9 commented on the word nychthemeron
Why don't more people know this word? It is useful, and has a simple enough meaning; once you get past the Hellenic-derived spelling it is relatively easy to pronounce; what could be the problem? Perhaps it suffers the ill fortune of not being Anglo-Saxon, and thus losing out on the head start that such words as "day" and "night" have. Do it a favour. Take "nychthemeron" home today.
dbmag9 commented on the word blurb
Modern life is one short bite-sized piece of information after another. The internet, symbol of the age, is designed to actively fire information at our passive eyes. Yet more so the television. On the back of books, those edifices which we once thought would weather the storm of the information age, are those brief, digestible, active and aggresive things which sum this whole sorry state up.
December 3, 2006
dbmag9 commented on the word serendipity
Why are the forces for the universe set the way they are? Why am I so happy? Why did I catch the train today? Some will say that these are merely coincidences that had to happen to somebody. But others will reply: Yes, but they didn't have to happen to us. That there is so much happiness in our world; that we have these little, fortuitous, coincidences; truly, we have serendipity.
dbmag9 commented on the word defenestration
The window smashes. You feel the wind whistle past you. It all ends. Somewhere, in your last flicker of conscious thought, you realise that there is a word for your death, and you are at peace.
dbmag9 commented on the word conundrum
dbmag9 commented on the word chutzpah
A boy is taken to court for murdering both of his parents. He pleads to the jury for mercy - after all, he is an orphan.
dbmag9 commented on the word lugubrious
Your mind oozes glumness. What word could better describe your emotion?
dbmag9 commented on the word anoxia
Oxygen is brought into our blood via the lungs, whence it rides the blood to our every extremity. It is vital for aerobic respiration, which produces energy from oxygen and glucose. Without it we expect to simply feel weak, to collapse and, if the process comes to its conclusion, die. But instead we are treated to the ultimate in virtual reality: out-of-body experiences, visions of light, giddiness and extasy. We may recover and find that we have found God. Or we may fail to recover and find Him anyway.
dbmag9 commented on the word abecedaria
How do we know about the ancient writing systems? What order were they in, what names did they have? Abecedaria are documents of any form (most commonly pottery fragments) which detail the alphabet in some way. To linguists they serve as windows into a distant past; to us they serve as reminders that even the merest text may be vital.
dbmag9 commented on the word abjad
Formed from the first three letters of the Arabic one, this is a system of writing which includes only consonants. In the Semitic languages the abjad is fundamentally entwined with the novel grammar: the consonants in a word indicate its meaning, whilst the vowels (along with pre- or postfixes) indicate its form).
dbmag9 commented on the word pneumoultramicroscopicsilicovolcaniconiosis
This word, refering to a disease caused by fine quartz particles, is that most commonly mentioned as the longest in the English language. It is also regarded amongst those who know such things as a spurious word created by those who wanted to end the longest-word debate. Silicosis will normally suffice.
dbmag9 commented on the word antediluvian
Now used to mean "prehistoric", this word etymologically refers to "before the flood" (the one described in the book of Genesis). I don't mind; it sounds beautiful.
dbmag9 commented on the word blog
Aside from seanahan's valid rebuttal, I think that you've made a substantial error, jonjonz, by confusing the properties of sound and meaning. You begin your tirade "It sounds like..." (refering to the sound) but end it by talking about pride, which (you say) refers to the meaning. Be clear what you are talking about.
As an aside, "Vanity Press" would surely not be appropriate for a digital medium, no?
December 2, 2006
dbmag9 commented on the word floccinaucinihilipilification
Clearly this word is useless.
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