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A natural follow-up to our ‘love and lust’ theme is a ‘pregnancy’ theme. [As Ogden Nash says of June brides, “This year’s June is next year’s Junior.” Right about this time of year, too.] Our theme, like pregnancy, goes from Z to A, or more exactly, from zygote to accouchement. Our beginning word is from the extreme end of the dictionary.

zygote – the cell resulting from the fusion of egg and sperm [from Greek zugotos ‘yoked’]
    My injury forces me to spend more time with my morn than I have since I was a zygote.
    – Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts
We’ll try to keep this theme from becoming overly scientific, but please permit just a bit here.
    . . .Pregnancy begins with a fertilized egg. This egg is called a zygote. Normally, the zygote attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. With an ectopic pregnancy, the zygote implants somewhere else. More than 95 percent of ectopic pregnancies occur in a fallopian tube. …
    . . .An ectopic pregnancy can't proceed normally. About one in every 40 to 100 pregnancies is ectopic.
    – CNN International - Dec 21, 2005
Bonus word:
ectopic
– in an abnormal place or position. [Greek ektopos ‘out of place’]
 
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Apart from the familiar terms ‘trimester’ and ‘morning sickness’, there are few words pertaining to the mid-months of pregnancy. Here’s one.

chloasma – a patchy brown skin discoloration
[particularly occurs on a woman's face from hormonal changes of pregnancy. from Greek for ‘green’]
    Her face was showing the faintest hint of chloasma, plum blotches on her cheeks like she was blushing all the time. Mask of pregnancy, her mother called it. Ellen was four months gone.
    – Michael Knight, Ellen’s Book, in New Stories from the South 2003 (Shannon Ravenel, editor)
 
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tocology – the science of childbirth; midwifery or obstetrics

Recently, a Missouri legislator took advantage of the fact that this word is almost never used. He inserted, in a bill regarding services covered by medical insurance, permission for services from
    "any person who holds current ministerial or tocological certification by an organization”
– thus allowing midwives to practice without collaboration with a physician. Apparently he was able to sneak it in because no one understood what the clause meant!
– Columbia [Missouri] Tribune, Midwifery play draws reprimand; 'Snuck-in' clause reaches [Governor] Blunt’s Desk, May 15, 2007
 
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Today’s word has two very different senses, each from the concept of ‘to gird; to encircle closely’.

enceinte1. pregnant 2. a fortification encircling a castle or town; also, the area protected
    [a clothing designer specializing in maternity wear:] Rogan's customers, their bellies as round and fecund as poppy heads, are the flip side of easy-to-dress stick-thin supermodels. Rogan also makes wedding dresses (from $600), leaping genres in a single bound for the bride who's enceinte at the altar.
    – Georgia Straight (Vancouver, CA), Feb. 11, 2004 (ellipses omitted)

    May 13, 1565 Castel Sant'Angelo-The Borgo-Malta: The largest armada since antiquity, bearing the finest army in the modern world, had been dispatched by Suleiman Shah to conquer Malta. Turkish success would expose southern Europe to a wave of Islamic terror. … The Borgo was barricaded from the mainland by a huge, curving enceinte – a curtain wall studded with defensive bastions and teeming with knights and militia at their drill.
    – Tim Willocks, The Religion, as serialized in New York Times, May 20, 2007
 
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gravid – pregnant

A nice simile today.
    … the wind blows great chunks of gray sky in off the Atlantic which come dragging in so low their bellies brush the masts and chimney pots, like gravid sows crossing a stubble field.
    – Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men
 
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Actually, I think gravid is more general than pregnant. I have only heard gravid used to refer to female animals that were full of fertilized eggs (which you wouldn't call pregnant) but it appears to encompass pregnancy as well.
 
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I've also seen gravid used metaphorically to describe dark, heavy clouds that were about to drop rain.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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From Kurt Vonnegut:
He was a portly man, aslop with coffee, gravid with Danish pastry. Poor, lugubrious Fred spent his mornings seeking insurance prospects in the drugstore
www.scribd.com/doc/41441/Kurt-Vonnegut-God-Bless-You-Mr-Rosewater - 769k -


RJA
 
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Let’s face it: pregancy is uncomfortable, and a woman can rightly think, “Men! They don’t have to lug this load around for months!” So our lady readers may appreciate an animal where the male carries the developing eggs, wrapped around his legs.

midwife toad – a certain genus of toad of Western Europe, in which the males carry a string of fertilised eggs

You’ll find the midwife toad on the Guardian’s list of World's Weirdest Amphibians. On that list I also liked the olm (a blind salamander with transparent skin that lives underground and can survive without food for 10 years) and the Chinese giant salamander (which can be 1.8m long, more than 5 feet).
 
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Amazing !!

A tiny frog -- no bigger than a drawing pin -- taught me today that a drawing pin is a thumbtack.

The frog, by the way, lives in Seychelles, where she sells seashells, or so she says.
 
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I’d promised you pregnancy “from Z to A, from zygote to accouchement.” But since accoucheuse (midwife) has already been our word of the day a few years ago, I’ll just direct you to it, and offer a different 'pregnancy' word.

parturient – in labor; about to give birth (parturition – the action of giving birth; childbirth)

First used in reference to a saying of Horace: parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus, “The mountain has labored and brought forth a ridiculous mouse;” meaning “great labor but little result.”
    And so it came about that at thirty-eight, after many years of experience as a student of child development and of childbirth in remote villages – watching … while old women threw stones at the inquisitive children who came to stare at the parturient woman – I was to share in the wartime experience of young wives all over the world. My husband had gone away to take his wartime place, and there was no way of knowing whether I would ever see him again.
    – Margaret Mead, Blackberry Winter, in Modern American Memoirs (Cort Conley, co-editor, and Annie Dillard, editor)

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