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lexical pursuit

  • drintling refers to turkeys' clucking noises
  • another way of saying multicolored is arcipluvian (literally, like a rainbow)
  • define comes from de- 'completely, thoroughly' and finire 'finish' and first meant 'bring to an end, settle' - hence, definite
  • nirvana comes from Sanskrit meaning 'be extinguished, be blown out' - and it now means the experience when greed, hatred, and delusion are extinguished and enlightenment gained
  • barrel of laughs has a connection to beer barrels, conducive to merriment
  • white lightning 'illegally distilled whiskey' is an Americanism dating to around 1910
  • etymologically, clammy means 'sticky as if smeared with clay' and comes from the now-obsolete verb clam 'smear, stick' and back further to Germanic klaimaz 'clay'

buy the book! Lexical Pursuit is a collection of a-really-interesting-thing-you-probably-do-not-know about thousands and thousands of words. The tidbits include word history and etymology, unusual or lost or uncommon words, grammar and usage, word trivia, differences between confusable words, and how words are formed.