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Sometimes a negative form of a word is much more familiar than its positive form. (We might can call someone "uncouth" or "unruly", but you rarely hear someone described as "couth" or "ruly".) More generally, two counterpart words may exist ("paired", but not necessarily negative and positive), one much better known than the other. We've done themes on both the negative/positive pairs and the more-general counterpart pairs.

This week we'll present more of the latter type, beginning with another "super" word.

supernal – heavenly; celestial (also, of the sky)

"Supernal" is the counterpart of "infernal" – which originally meant "of Hell" – and it can mean "heavenly" either literally or figuratively. I do love the second quote.
    All [Galileo's] observation lent credence to the unpopular Sun-centered universe of Nicolas Copernicus … . In 1616, a pope and a cardinal inquisitor reprimanded Galileo, warning him to curtail his forays into the supernal realms.
    – Dava Sobel, Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love


    DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus? VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
    . . .Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
    – 1897; ellipses omitted. Well worth reading in full

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I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say ...

How fake is that letter? How many eight-year-olds would describe their friends as "little", let alone write letters to newspapers, even in 1897?


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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And how many editors would direct the word supernal toward an eight-year-old?


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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How fake is that letter?

Not very, it would seem. Perhaps her father helped.
 
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Perhaps her father helped.

Yuk.

I feel sure he helped*, in that case.

* Definition of "helped": wrote.


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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Today, a rare kin of the familiar word regurgitate. The etymology makes a nice image, for the word comes from Latin gurgit- 'whirlpool'.

gurgitate – to swallow up greedily, like a whirlpool
(also, I think, intransitive: "to swirl and suck violently, like a whirlpool". See first quote)
    [T]he ledge looked full upon the Mermaid's Rock and the heave of black water surging past it to gurgitate between the narrowing walls of rock.
    – A. T. Quiller-Couch, Major Vigoureux

    Greebo lifted the bowl uncertainly. He wasn't too good with fingers. Then he looked around conspiratorially and ducked under the table. There were the sounds of keen gurgitation and the bowl being scraped around on the floor. Greebo emerged …, licking the remnant off his beard.
    – Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

    She is the fastest rising star in the world of competitive gurgitation. And yesterday Sonya Thomas, who weighs just seven stone, saw off all comers to win Britain's first speed-eating contest, noshing her way through 46 mince pies in 10 minutes.
    – Independent, Nov. 30, 2006 (ellipses omitted)
 
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superordinate – higher in rank, status, or value [the counterpart of subordinate; also used as noun or verb]
    I had to abandon the idea of the superordinate position of the ego.
    – C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Aneila Jaffe, ed.; Clara Winston and Richard Winston, trans.)

    Effective management is putting first things first. Management is discipline to an overriding purpose, to a superordinate goal.
    – Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (ellipses omitted)
 
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plicate – folded, pleated; with parallel folds or ridges

This is not a word you'll run into. But with it you can appreciate how some common words must have originated in metaphors that were sheer poetry when they were first used and first heard.
  • If a situation is a tangled mess of interlocking issues, who but a poet would think of calling them "all folded together"; that is, com-plicated?
  • An utterance has a literal meaning; any further unspoken message "folded-in" with it is an im-plication.
  • When a crime investigation is able "fold in" particular people with the events, they become im-plicated. (The original sense of implicate was "to intertwine or twist together" and was meant literally, as with knots or tree branches.)
  • When a vassal "bends low" to beg a boon of his lord, on "down-bended" knee, he sup-plicates.
 
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And of course, duplicate, and explicate.


RJA
 
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After a good night's sleep -- replicate!


RJA
 
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Iran, 1979, just after the Shah fell from power:
    Revolutionaries seized the Israeli mission in Tehran and turned it over to associates of the PLO. … the United States quietly assumed responsibility to exfiltrate thirty-three Israeli diplomats who had gone into hiding in the city.
    – by Patrick Tyler, A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East
exfiltrate – to furtively escape from (or smuggle someone out from) an area controlled or imperiled by the enemy

The counterpart of "infiltrate".
 
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plicate – folded, pleated; with parallel folds or ridges

This is not a word you'll run into...


In medicine "plication" is a common surgical sewing technique.
 
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A depilatory is cream or lotion used to remove unwanted hair, for cosmetic purposes. That word is the most familiar use of the root pilus "hair". Here's a less familiar one, as in "it made my hair stand on end!"

horripilation – the bristling of the body hair, as from fear or cold; goose bumps
    Madame la duchesse d'Oyonnax … was standing several paces away, which forced Eliza to approach her. Eliza did so in spite of a sudden horripilation that had spread over her scalp like a slick of burning oil. You'll never appreciate how easy this is going to be compared to a typical poisioning," said Oyonnax in a light conversational tone, as if this would set Eliza at ease.
    – Neal Stephenson, The Confusion
This word is mostly used in spelling bees and by authors who, trying too hard, embarrass themselves by mis-using the word as if it meant "a shiver down the spine". Apparently those authors are unaware of the "hair" root.

Another word for "horripilation" is piloerection. (I dare you to try tossing that one into a conversation.) OED gives a vivid modern example from a veterinary textbook:
    Both cats appear frightened, that is, they assume defensive postures (ears back, body arched, dilated pupils, piloerection.
 
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Is there an element of duplication here?

"Horri" seems to trace back to hair just as much as "pila" does. From etymonline:

horror
c.1375, from O.Fr. horreur, from L. horror "bristling, roughness, rudeness, shaking, trembling," from horrere "to bristle with fear, shudder," from PIE base *ghers- "to bristle" (cf. Skt. harsate "bristles," Avestan zarshayamna- "ruffling one's feathers," L. eris (gen.) "hedgehog," Welsh garw "rough").


RJA
 
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English hair (< PIE kers- 'bristle, stiff hair; rough'), horn < PIE k̑er-(ə)n- 'top of the body' < PIE k̑er- 'top (part) of the body' (kers- and k̑er- may be related though the intial phonemes are different, velar vs palatal stops), Latin pilus '(single) hair; body hair'(cf. French poil 'hair', poilu, literally 'hairy', '(French) WW1 soldier'), horror, horroris, 'bristling, shivering; horror' (though it is related to Latin er, eris 'hedgegog'). The words are related semantically, but almost all of them come from different roots.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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