Here’s a timely word, from yesterday’s Fox Trot comic strip:
This makes no sense unless you know what a kraken is.
So what is a kraken?
kraken – a mythical sea-monster of enormous size [from Norwegian]
– Robert Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan, Hidden Harmonies: The Lives and Times of the Pythagorean Theorem
What does this kraken-monster look like? Unclear. Tennyson gave it “giant fins”, but later changed those fins to “giant arms”. Sometimes it’s a vertebrate (as the fish in Fox Trot; the gigantic four-armed fish-man in the movie Clash of the Titans (1981), which becomes dinosaurian in the 2010 re-make), but more typically (as in Pirates of the Caribbean) it’s a giant octopus that can engulf and drag down a ship at sea.
Enjoy the video clips.
Interestingly, the word for “octopus” is similar to “kraken” in German (“Krake”) but not in other Germanic tongues: English, Icelandic, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
Not to be confused with Dagon...
mandation – the issuance of a mandate; that is, of an an official order or to do something
– Sarah Palin, Jan. 27, 2010, as television commentator following President Obama's State of the Union address
The dictionaries are wrong. The word is not at all uncommon. Here’s a recent example, from a respected person of note.
– Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve Board Chairman, speaking before House Ways and Means Committee, Jan. 20, 1999
A shady word. From Latin umbra, shadow.
adumbrate – 1. to report or represent in outline, giving the high points
(also 2. to indicate faintly or partially;
. . . .3. to foreshadow or symbolize;
. . . .4. to overshadow)
– Paul Johnson, Humorists: From Hogarth to Noel Coward
temerity – rashness; foolhardy contempt of danger; excessive boldness
— Virginia Woolf
Here is an untimely response to a timely word.
In norwegian, although the word "blekksprut" (literally "ink-spray" is often used for octopus, "blekksprut" is really a generic word for cephalopods, and octopus would be "åttearmet blekksprut" or "eight-armed ink-spray".
However, another word in Norwegian for the common octopus (Polypus vulgaris) is actually "krake", and the definitive form of this would be "kraken". Thus, one would imagine that the original imagining of the kraken took the form of an octopus.
Oh, I love 8-armed ink-spray!
I have to tell a story on my husband. When he was a little boy, he asked his mother how babies got "out of the stomach." His mother said that the baby came out "between the legs." He thought for a moment and said, "But what about an octopus?"
diamanté – fabric covered with rhinestone or a sequins (also, the stones themselves)
- Daily Mail online [headline], Nov. 23, 2009
To suggest that there was something untoward
In watching this women do the splits while they liberate their bits
From lacy panty, diamanté and the law.
fugleman – a leader, especially a political leader
[Wordcrafter note: I would add that its usually a contemptuous term for a two-bit underboss serving under a more important leader. Do readers agree?]
George Bush … stood revealed after last week's debate … as an Ivy League fugleman who forswore his own convictions on moral and political issues so completely to identify himself with his leader.
- Boca Raton News, Oct. 16, 1984
Quite literally "wing man."
In the US in particular, a wing man is a best friend. When a fellow wants to pursue a girl at a bar, for example, his wingman will chat up her inevitable companion, to give his friend the opportunity.
In military context, it is the demonstrator whom the other soldiers follow in a drill.
In more than a few decades, have not run into the negative sense cited; rather surprised we'd stretch for such an example.
I've never run into it in a particularly negative context either. As Robert says, it's from the German, meaning a wing man in the military.
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.
Today’s word has several meaning. The etymology is evident in the first.
pommel – [from Old French pomel little apple]
1. a rounded knob on end of the handle of a sword [counterbalancing the weight of the blade] or a dagger
2. the part of a saddle projecting up in front of the rider
3. gymnastics: on a pommel horse, either of the two rounded handles that the gymnast grips
The etymology is also evident in an old, poetic use of the term, to mean a woman's breast.
Today’s word is in the news and, interestingly, it is etymologically akin to coffin.
– President Obama, July 12, 2011
figuratively, coffers – the financial reserves of an organization
. . . (also, a decorative sunken panel in a ceiling)
For many years Obama's colleagues brayed on about the "well-funded" and "secure" "Social Security lockbox." (Germanic roots there.)
Now that it is found to be empty, the language switches to Latin roots, with fitting overtones of death.
Alas for taxpayers unborn.
SS was looted long before Obama arrived.
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