Archive for the Category: Latin


I came across the German word Rundfunk the other day and it just appealed to me, so I thought I’d find out more about it. Rundfunk /ˈʀʊntfʊŋk/ means broadcasting, radio, wireless or broadcasting company/corporation, though would probably also be a good name for a band. It also appears in such expressions as: – Rundfunkansager – […]

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Summer chicks and glowing coals

Last night we were talking about the Pili Palas on Anglesey, a butterfly centre, which also has birds, snakes and other exotic creatures. The name is a pun combining pili-pala (butterfly) and palas (palace) – it took me ages to realise this. We were trying to think of the words for butterfly in various other […]

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Peu profond

Last night I discovered that there doesn’t appear to be a separate French word for shallow, at least when you’re talking about shallow water, dishes or graves – the term peu profond (‘not very deep’) is used in these cases. If you’re talking about a shallow person, mind, writing, novel, film or conversation though, the […]

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I came across the word epizeuxis recently (in One of Our Thursdays is Missing, by Jasper Fforde) and wasn’t sure what it meant or even how to pronounce it, so I decided to find out. According to the OED, epizeuxis (/ɛpɪˈzjuːksɪs/) is “a figure by which a word is repeated with vehemence or emphasis.” It […]

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Yesterday I discovered an interesting new word – occlupanid, which is defined by the Holotypic Occlupanid Research Group as follows: “Occlupanids are generally found as parasitoids on bagged pastries in supermarket biomes, although a few species are found on vegetables and bulk grains, and one notable species (Uniporus) is found exclusively on vent tubing bags. […]

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Pandora’s banjo

Last night a friend asked me about the origins of the word banjo. I wasn’t sure, so I did some investigating and discovered that banjo comes from the word bandore as pronounced by African slaves – ban’jōre, ban’jō. A bandore (/bænˈdɔə(r)/ /ˈbændɔə(r)/) is “a musical instrument resembling a guitar or lute, with three, four, or […]

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Flame of the woods

Lasair choille or ‘flame of the woods’ is the Irish name for the goldfinch (carduelis carduelis), two of which I saw on my apple tree this morning. I like to know the names of birds and other creatures in the my languages, and particularly liked the Irish version when I discovered it. The Irish word […]

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I heard the word rheithgor (/ˈr̩əiθgɔr/) on Radio Cymru this morning in the context of a report on a trial, and guessed that it meant ‘jury’. The second element, gor, comes from côr (/koːr/) (choir, circle), and the first element, rheith, appears in such words as rheithfawr (greatly just), rheithiad (regulation), rheithio (to fix a […]

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The worm that turned

While working in my garden this afternoon I dug up lots of worms, so I thought it might be interesting to find out more about the word worm. Meanings of worm (/wɜːm/ /wɝm/) include: – a member of the genus Lumbricus; a slender, creeping, naked, limbless animal, usually brown or reddish, with a soft body […]

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Noce /nɔs/ is a French word I learnt last night meaning “wedding” (ceremony) or wedding party. Here are some examples of usage: – être de la noce – to be (a member) of the wedding party, to be among the wedding guests – être de noce – to be invited to a wedding – aller […]

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