I'm feeling lazy this week, so we'll do a theme that's easy for me: short words.
skep – an old-style beehive: dome-shaped, and made of straw or wicker
– Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies
knurl – a small protruding knob or ridge (also as verb)
knurl or knurling is also the name for something we see every day without knowing the word.
knurling – a surface of such bumps, to improve grip
– Dewey Lambdin, The French Admiral
All of the bits … have chrome bit holders with a diamond knurl for fingertip control.
– Professional Tool & Equipment News, Feb. 1, 2006
cadge – to beg or sponge off of <cadge a free cup of coffee>
The quote is from memory, as I can’t locate it on-line. Christopher Isherwood, I believe.
Is that they’re such appalling cadgers.
If you have one in to dine,
He’ll ask a bottle of your wine
To take home. If he likes your prints,
He’ll drop the most unsubtle hints:
“I say, who is this picture by?
It’s my birthday next July.”
Once one asked me for my car.
This was going rather far,
So I asked him, “Wouldn’t you rather
Have this ring? It belonged to my father.
It’s set with diamonds.” Calm and bland,
He thanked me, and held out his hand!
I had an apoplectic fit,
But the badger ran away with it.
Thank you, timnan, and thanks to Richard P. for the same by email.
plage – the beach of a seaside resort
[ultimately from Greek plagios ‘oblique; slanting’; thence to Late Latin to Italian to French (‘beach; shore’) to English]
. . .Bond said: ‘Three o’clock then. I shall be there. Goodnight.’
– Ian Fleming, For Your Eyes Only (ellipses omitted)
Yesterday’s word plage brought us the beach. Let’s enjoy another day in the water.
lido – a public open-air swimming pool or bathing beach
[from the Lido, a famous beach resort near Venice. The name, Italian for ‘shore’, is related to the word littoral.]
– The Londonist, May 9, 2008
ween – (archaic:) to think; suppose; believe
Bonus word: prate – to talk idly and at length (typically about trivial matters); to chatter
The poem providing our quote is both witty and deep. Do take a moment, at the link, to enjoy it in full.
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind. …
[The six “observe” by touch. They come away with six very different views, for each has "seen" only apart of the whole.] …
So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
– John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887), The Blind Men and the Elephant
Don't forget about our recent Bluffing Game word, "lirp," meaning snapping the fingers.
Wordmatic just won the limerick game, her lines 3 and 4 were
"They were harping and carping
and lirping and larping--"
Now "LARP" is a bit of a stretch, as it's an acronym for "live action role-playing," but it fit well enough. However, "lirp" is quite legitimate.
You may have heard of Ernest Rutherford (1871 –1937), who won a Nobel Prize and is considered the father of nuclear physics. He grew up in the wild frontier of colonial New Zealand, where his parents raised “a little flax and a lot of children”.
– Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb
scutch – to separate the valuable fibers from the woody parts (of flax, for example), by beating