Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WORDS!

KUMMERSPECK

This is actually a German word, but it is a very useful word, and it's a shame we don't have a word in English that means the same thing.  If you are sad or upset about something, you might eat a bunch of yummy food to make yourself feel better.  Except that all the extra eating makes you gain weight, and that is called kummerspeck.  If you translate kummerspeck literally, it means "grief bacon."

Of course, if dogs get stressed, they are more likely not to eat at all.  So for that, we need a word that means "even bacon doesn't tempt me right now"!








GLABELLA

If you are a human, your glabella is the smooth place on your forehead, above and between your eyebrows.  A lot of people may not know that they have a glabella, but they do.  I'm not sure why we need a word for this part of the body.  I think the writers of the anatomy books just dreamed up names for lots of things so that their books would be longer and cost more to buy.

The word glabella comes from the Latin glabellus, which means "hairless."









FROWARD

This is kind of an old word that you don't hear a lot anymore.  In the past, it seemed to be used pretty often to describe children who were naughty and disobedient.  Froward can also mean obstinate, contrary, wayward, ungovernable, or peevish.

The word started being used in Middle English between 1150 and 1200, so you can tell that there have been froward people around for a long time.






PERIWIG

A periwig is what you call those wigs that were all the rage with men back in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Another word for a periwig is a peruke.  You have probably seen pictures of people like George Washington or J.S. Bach wearing periwigs.  A lot of times, the hair of the periwig was tied in the back, like kind of a ponytail.  But other periwigs were very long, with curly ringlets.  Periwigs were often powdered.  In the U.K., judges and barristers still wear periwigs when they are in court, which makes them look a little silly, if you ask me.

The word periwig was originally perwyke, which was an altered version of the Old French perruque.




COULTER

Those of you who have lived on a farm probably know this word already, but I am just a city dog, so it was a new word for me.  A coulter is a blade or a wheel that is attached to the beam of a plow so that it makes vertical cuts in front of the plowshare.  Sometimes it is spelled colter, especially in the U.S.

The word comes from the Old English culter and Old French coltre, which are both from the Latin word culter, meaning "knife" or "plowshare."





TIFFIN

A tiffin is a light meal that is eaten between breakfast and dinner.  So in other words, it is a light lunch.  You can also use this word as a verb, as in "I'd like to tiffin now, but Mom says I can't because I only just finished breakfast!"










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