Saturday, 1 August 2009

Nonfiction Quickie

Finished July 28
The Whatchamacallit: those everyday objects you just can't name (and things you think you know about but don't) by Danny Danziger and Mark McCrum
This very cool book was recommended by a coworker. I found terms I knew well, and many that I did not. Examples of use or detailed descriptions are given, and many entries also include related terms. My favourites include:
* tmesis (the separation of parts of a compound word by the intervention of one or more words, such as abso-bloody-lutely)
* tittle (the dot on top of the lower case i and j)
* pulicue (the distance between the forefinger and thumb when extended)
* phosphene (sensation of light caused by excitation of the retina rather than light itself) [This happens to me when I cough in the dark and I never knew it had a name!]
* noclilucent (particular and unusual high cloud, seen only in the evening)
* desire line (path more people want to take, despite any existing roads, walks, or tracks).
As you can see from my list, the subjects are varied and yet I find this sort of thing fascinating.

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