Short and sweet. Somebody get me a baby potto.
More about pogonip, or ice fog, because I found it interesting: it comes from Shoshone paγi̵nappi̵h, meaning, unsurprisingly, "cloud." American settlers in the early days called it the "white death," because they thought the ice crystals would kill them if it entered their lungs. Humidity has to be around 100% as the temperature drops below freezing for the ice crystals to form in the air and start to settle on things.
No, not really. I'm pleased that "gi" was finally added. But the new Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, Fifth Edition, does mean reading 5,000 extra words this year. Read more about it here (with all the attendant controversy!)
I've ordered my copy, but I'm waiting for someone—someone who is slightly more obsessed with words than I am—to go through and publish an online list of what those 5,000 new words are, because I'm sure as heck not starting over. Plan on a few additional posts at the end of the year.
It's true that at this point in the year I'm thinking longingly of all the extra time I'll have next year, but as soon as I start reading, time doesn't matter, and the words soak into me like hot, soothing water in a tub . . . everyone has additions. There are good addictions and bad addictions. And if I gotta choose, I choose logophilia. Bring it on, Fifth Edition!
Lots of various kinds of women's clothing this week (partlet, peignoir, pelerine, peplos), but most importantly, the discovery of pleonasm: the use of needless words. Such a word is not only indicative of much of what I am doing in reading and blogging about the Scrabble Dictionary, which contains many a needless word, but pleonasm is also a semantic paradox in itself—when was the last time you needed the word pleonasm?
(These kinds of self-referential words, by the way, are part of a fascinating subset of linguistics called autological terms. Click here for a partial list. My favorite is shibboleth, since knowing the word shibboleth is a cue to other people who know the word that you are cued in)
One could also argue that there is no such thing as a pleonasm since Scrabble ensures the need of all the vocabulary you can get (minus one-lettered words and words that go beyond the availability of tiles, I suppose).
Anyway. I also had fun with pangram on Twitter.
Just one image today, for pandanus: a tropical plant. My son is eating a pandanus key in the Marshall Islands (taken 2011). You either love pandanus or hate it. I hated it, and then I loved it. It is a remarkable, very time-consuming fruit. Islanders use it not only for its critical vitamins but also to floss.
This is a short week since words that began with over- and out- dominated this section. We have a remarkable ability to do things in excess and in competition, it seems, and our language reflects that. Interesting, overjoy is not have an excess of joy, like overlove (to love to excess) or oversad (excessively sad). It's only "to fill with great joy." Similarly, to overlive is not to live to an excess but "to outlive." You can have too much love or kindness or meekness (overkind, overmeek) but not enough life or joy, apparently.
I'm going camping for the next couple of weeks, so there will be a summer hiatus from Scrabbling. Over and out.