Word of the day – proboscitude
proboscitude, adjective = the condition of having a long flexible prehensile trunk.
From proboscis, noun = a long flexible prehensile trunk or snount, as of an elephant; the elongated mouthparts of cetain insects, adapted for piercing and sucking food
Origin: via Latin from Greek προβοσκις (proboskis) – trunk of an elephant, from βοσκειν (boskein) – to feed
I’ve just started reading “The Ancestor’s Tale – A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution” by Richard Dawkins. In the introduction he explains why he has chosen to tell the story of evolution starting with humans and working backwards: he says it’s natural for a human to do it this way. If an elephant was telling the tale, he or she would most likely start with elephants then look for their ancestors “on the main trunk road of evolution”. He goes on to speculate that:
“Elephant astronomers might wonder whether, on some other world, there exist alien life forms that have crossed the nasal rubicon and taken the final leap to full proboscitude.”
Proboscitude is such a wonderful word that I thought I’d share it with you.
Other English words for nose are also interesting, and include conk, hooter, schozzle and snout.
“To be nosey” or “to stick one’s nose where it doesn’t belong” are both used to describe unwelcome curiosity in the doings of others. Do the equivalent idioms in other languages involve noses? If not, are there any nose-related idioms that mean something else?