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This week let's unearth some obscure words for times and time-periods.

hesternal - pertaining to yesterday
quote:
There as he smoked and puffed, and looked out upon the bright crocuses, and meditated over the dim recollections of the hesternal journal, did Mr. Briggs revolve in his mind the vast importance of the borough of Buyemall to the British empire, and the vast importance of John Briggs to the borough of Buyemall.
- Edward Bulwer-Lytton (he of "It was a dark and stormy night" fame), Pelham, Chapter XXXVI
 
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yestreen – yesterday evening

Here is the first verse of a lovely 1789 song by Robert Burns.

I gaed a waefu' gate yestreen,
A gate, I fear, I'll dearly rue;
I gat my death frae twa sweet een,
Twa lovely een o'bonie blue.
'Twas not her golden ringlets bright,
Her lips like roses wat wi' dew,
Her heaving bosom, lily-white –
It was her een sae bonie blue.

(I went a woeful way last night,
A way, I fear, I'll dearly rue;
I got my death from two sweet eyes,
Two lovely eyes o'bonie blue.
'Twas not her golden ringlets bright,
Her lips like roses wet with dew,
Her heaving bosom, lily-white –
It was her eyes so bonie blue.)


[This message was edited by wordcrafter on Mon Oct 20th, 2003 at 21:55.]
 
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quote:
yestreen

This is a Scottish dialect word. It is/was not part of the "mainstream" English language. I think, wordcrafter, that some mention of that should have been made in your post.
 
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"Daily" can be a difficult concept to pin down. For example, "daily changes in temperature" could mean either changes within the day, or changes from day to day. The Spectator recently noted that it found no word to specifically refer to variations within a day.

Further, though several words mean "on a daily cycle", all are either ambiguous (having other meanings) or are limited in application.

quotidian - occurring or returning daily: a quotidian fever
diurnal - recurring every day (diurnal tasks); or on a daily cycle (diurnal tides)
circadian - occurring regularly at 24-hour intervals

BUT:
quotidian also means: of an everyday character; ordinary, commonplace, trivial.
diurnal also means: active chiefly in the daytime (diurnal animals), as opposed to "nocturnal"
circadian applies only to biological processes; one would not speak of "the circadian motion of the sun"
quote:
As one site cleverly notes: "Well, of course the word of the day is quotidian. If it wasn't quotidian, it wouldn't be the word of the day."

Citation for the 1996 Ramon Magsaysay Journalism Award:
[Nick] Joaquin also mastered the Philippines' most popular and widely-read literary form, the newspaper column. ... he dished out regular rounds of history, opinion, and gossip with such flair, candor, and intelligence that he managed to raise this quotidian newspaper exercise to an art.


[This message was edited by wordcrafter on Tue Oct 21st, 2003 at 23:13.]
 
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You are correct that "circadian" is a biological term, though "diurnal" is sometimes used synonymously. For example, in my "Respiratory Care Pharmacology" book: "The production of the body's own glucocorticoids also follows a rhythmic cycle, termed a diurnal or circadian rhythm." Now, maybe it is used wrong.

BTW, I love this theme! I never would have thought there were so many words regarding time.
 
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hebdomadal– weekly; occurring every seven days
[Some medical sources refer to the first week of a newborn's life as the "hebdomadal period". I do not find this usage in the dictionaries.]
quote:
... since the dawn of human civilisation, some days, usually on some hebdomadal rhythm of the kind that we have in our Christian culture, have been reserved for holiday and have been kept special. Since the dawn of time, those protections have not simply been cultural, but have been enforced by law and by politicians. In a way, Sunday, and the hebdomadal system, sanctify a human necessity.
- Remarks in Parliament by Mr. Boris Johnson (Henley), May 16, 2003, whose eloquence is well worth reading
 
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lustrum - a period of five years
[from the name of a ceremony the Romans held at that interval]
quote:
But for Bob Downie, Britannia’s director, there is quiet satisfaction at a lustrum which has seen 1.6 million visitors - 60 per cent higher than expected - and a clutch of awards.
- Sharon Ward, Scotland's favourite day trip, The Scotsman, 20 Oct 2003
 
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American Heritage Dictionary, doubtless influenced by our theme, has chosen this "time" word as its word of the day for today.

sempiternal – enduring forever; eternal

How does this differ from "eternal"? Some authorities say that "eternal" means "having no end or beginning", or that it means "existing outside of time".
quote:
On September 1 [1983], the Soviet Union had shot down a Korean Air Lines passenger jet that had strayed into Soviet airspace, killing all 269 people aboard ... Chuck was serving as chief alternate U.N. delegate at the time, under Ronald Reagan's first ambassador, Jeane Kirkpatrick. Together, they roiled the career diplomats at the State Department and the sempiternal peace camp.
– Claudia Winkler, Chuck Lichenstein, 1926-2002. An honest diplomat heads off into the sunset, The Weekly Spectator, Sept. 5, 2002

Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.
- T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding (opening lines)
 
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bimester – a period of two months
Note: this words seems to be used quite a bit in academia, but very little elsewhere.
quote:
Mexican sales to Canada increased 1.1 percent in first bimester
In January and February of 2002 Mexican exports to Canada increased by a rate of 1.1 percent, compared to the increase of almost 12 percent during the same period in 2001, reported the Canadian Statistics Agency. Mexico exported merchandise to Canada worth almost 1.2 billion U.S. dollars, only 12 million more dollars than in the first bimester of 2001.
- Maquila Information Center (Mexico), April 19, 2002
 
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wordcrafter said, "hebdomadal – weekly; occurring every seven days"

From today's QT column in the local paper:
quote:
QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language (cont'd):

S.C., a Chicago reader, wants you to know that when QT recently referred to "0.012 kilograms of carbon-12," it should have referred to "0.012 kilogram of carbon-12."

QT would normally try at this point to show off in some way, the better to distract from its mistake. It has been known to use this ploy on at least a hebdomadal basis.

But it won't this time.
 
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I happened to be looking in the online Grandiloquent Dictionary for something else and found a word about time that I had never seen before: raith, meaning a quarter of a year.
 
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Let's revive this topic to add words pertaining to the special day today, February 29.

intercalary - inserted or introduced among others in the calendar; as, an intercalary month, day, etc.; -- now applied particularly to the odd day (Feb. 29) inserted in the calendar of leap year. [Hence Feb. 29 is an intercalary day]
more generally: introduced or inserted among others; additional; supernumerary
noun: intercalation

bissextile - adj. of or relating to (a) a leap year, or (b) the extra day falling in a leap year. noun a leap year. bissextile day - the day added in a leap year
[bis twice + sextus sixth, the "twice sixth" day because because the sixth day before the Calends of March occurred twice every leap year]


As I understand it: February had 30 days in the Roman calendar prior to Julius Caesar's reforms. The days of each month were not numbered consecutively, but rather were measured forward or backward from the Calends (1st day), Ides and Nones of each month. Every four years the day six days before the Calends of March – that is, what we would call Feb. 24 – was doubled, so it was the "twice sixth day". So technically, our leap day should not be Feb. 29; it should follow Feb. 24 and be designated "Feb 24(2nd)".
 
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Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and no wonder,
All the rest like butter-brickle,
Except Grandmother, and
She can't ride a bicycle anyway.

[This message was edited by jerry thomas on Sun Feb 29th, 2004 at 10:46.]
 
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Among this learned body, would we scorn "ephemeral" as insufficiently obscure?

RJA
 
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take it and stick it ?

quote:
intercalary - inserted or introduced among others in the calendar; as, an intercalary month, day, etc.; -- now applied particularly to the odd day (Feb. 29) inserted in the calendar of leap year. [Hence Feb. 29 is an intercalary day]


The concept is found in medical jargon, too.

There are three kinds of muscle: smooth or involuntary muscle (in the intestines, for example, and which contract on their own, creating peristalsis); striated or voluntary muscle (attached to the bones, and contract when you tell them to), and cardiac, which contracts automatically 72 times a minute , more or less. The structure of cardiac muscle fibers is similar to skeletal muscle except for one thing: there are little transverse plates every here and there along the length of the fiber, separating it into sub-units. The plates are called intercalated disks
 
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Oh, yes, I forgot about those little disks.

On another subject, it looks like you figured out to add subjects to posts?
 
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