Time to catch up on our words. Back in November I said, "I was amazed to learn, when researching this topic, how many different words name specific familiar parts of the body. Let's look at some of them, planning to revisit this topic from time to time."
That time has come. We'll focus particularly, though not exclusively, on the joints.
Several of these words are almost never used, but would be useful addition to the general lexicon. For example, wouldn't be good to have a word for the point of your elbow, so that you could say, "I banged my noop"?
noop – Scotch: the sharp point of the elbow
[I believe this word is used in the commercial versions of Balderdash and Trivial Pursuit. Now you can impress your friends!]
quote:uvula – the thing that hangs down from the back of the mouth (which children invariably think is a tonsil)
[an interesting derivation: diminutive of Latin uva cluster of grapes]This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
Wordcrafter has focused us on joints, but alas other words rise unbidden --
The philtrum is the midline groove
in the upper lip that runs from the top of the lip to the nose. (Always sounded more like a tool of alchemy to me.)
Do the judges consider integument an obscure bodypart, or merely an obscure word for a common bodypart, namely, the skin? (On the other hand, would that bodypart be so common in the land of the burka?)
Oh, Robert, you have hit upon one of my favorite words...."philtrum!"
As far as integument, to me it is a fairly common word, but that may be because I am a nurse. When studying physiology, we always study the integumentary system.
popliteal – pertaining to the hollow area at the back of the knee
Practically all uses are in the medical context. But I guaranty you will never forget the image in this non-medical example, in which a husband, to his wife's embarassment, is telling a story about her.
I presume our goal is rare or interesting words from an external perspective, before the medical profession began to open up folks and give names to internal parts...
Otherwise we have such charming extremities as the acromion, or topmost part of the shoulder, and the manubrium, or bottom of the sternum.
Very good, RJA. Now put that into limerick form.
Oh, yes! We are on the "Ac's" after all.
Interestingly, in a recent WWFTD (Tsuwm's site), he posted about "jejeunosity," from 'jejuneness,' meaning naivete. I did send him an e-mail about his spelling of 'jejeunosity,' though he did have a quote with that spelling from the NY Times. I am not sure how the "eu" replaced the "u." Does it then mean exactly the same as 'jejuneness," I wonder?
The part of the small intestine, "jejunum" (another medical word), comes from the same root, 'jejunus,' meaning 'fasting.' Since a lot of absorption takes place in the small intestine, I would think it would be 'a-jejuneness' if it means 'fasting' or lacking of nutritive value.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Kalleh,
A Suitor of rare acromion
Wooed a lady of beauty anthemion
So great was the praise
Of his scapular ways
That they're now in the epithalamion.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Robert Arvanitis,
Great, Robert! I am going to move it to the limerick site...since I am supposed to be the one keeping track of these words. I haven't been that good at it so far!
BTW, I got a note from Tsuwm telling me to read his site for an explanation of "jejeunosity." Here is what it says. Having read it, I can't agree that "jejeunosity" is a real word. A NY Times writer coined it? Why didn't she just use "jejuneness?" And, if she is going to coin it, why not spell it "jejunosity?"
I am still surprised that the root of that word ("jejunus") means empty or fasting. The jejunum is rich with nutrients. It is where a lot of nutrients are absorbed. Go figure.
We have two seriously obscure words today.
paxwax – the neck tendon (properly, the nuchal ligament)
This word may have led to something more familiar. It's been claimed that in 1740's Lancashire, paxwax meant "the neck tendon of a calf or lamb", and led to paddywack as "an ingestible ligament in meat". As in this old nursury rhyme:
He plays one,
He plays knick knack on my thumb
With a knick knack paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home.
Most sources, more limiting, specify "a piece of skin that peels off after a sunburn". English could use a word for that!
For some black gruesome carlin;
An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke,
Till skin in blypes cam haurlin
Aff 's nieves that night.
- Robert Burns, Halloween
[He takes a twisted, old moss-oak
For some black gruesome old woman;
And uttered a curse, and made a hit,
Till skin in shreds came hurling
Off his fists that night.]
Any chance that "blype" is related to "bleb?"
The latter covers the idea of a blister, or more portentously "an elevation of the skin filled with serous fluid."
racklettes - the skin's small, thin wrinkle-lines at a joint, as at the wrist
I've found this word only in one source so far. But as I age, and those wrinkles begin to develop at the shoulders, neck, and so on, I see how useful the word racklettes would be.
I see how useful the word racklettes would be.
Yes, you can walk up to someone and say, "I admire your 'racklettes,' and he/she would take it as a compliment!
A reader raises an apt question by this haiku:
Do they use clinical terms
[This word also has some archituctural meanings, doubtless related, but I've not researched the connection: 1.the corner or quoin of a wall, cross-beam, or rafter. 2. a bracket supporting a cornice; a console. ('Quion' and 'conole' seem worth defining, but we'll save that for a day when our message is less lenghty.)]
olecranon – "The large process on the upper end of the ulna that projects behind the elbow joint and forms the point of the elbow."
[Clear as mud, right? If this this means simply "the bump of the elbow", then I'll stick with noop for that purpose, thank you. Still, olecranon is a nice metaphor for that bump, since at root olecranon means 'the skull [cranium] of the elbow'.