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Monday, November 07, 2005

Word for the Day...

I subscribe to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary's Word of the Day.

The Word of the Day for November 7 is:

detritus • \dih-TRYE-tus\ • noun
1 : loose material (as rock fragments or organic particles) that results directly from disintegration
2 a : a product of disintegration, destruction, or wearing away : debris *b : miscellaneous remnants : odds and ends

Example sentence:
"The blog originated . . . as a catch basin for mental detritus, for the kind of stuff not good enough for print, but too good to waste on casual conversation." (Joel Achenbach, The Washington Post, August 21, 2005)

Did you know?
In the late 18th century, Scottish geologist James Hutton borrowed the Latin word "detritus" (meaning "rubbing away") for the process of wearing away or wearing down rock. His use of the word, however, was short-lived: one of the last appearances of this usage is in an 1802 book on his geologic theory. In that book, "detritus" was also used to describe the loose material that results from disintegration. It is that use, unlike Hutton's original, which has withstood the test of time and is firmly established in geology. Not surprisingly, "detritus," with its erudite sound and figurative possibility, was also taken up by non-geologists, from other scientists to nonscientists.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.


What is interesting is the quote from Joel Achenbach. The quote is from his article entitled "The Tail That Wags the Blog". (The cartoon is too.)

I thought only dead people were quoted in dictionaries.

hmmm... I learn something new every day.



Blogger Libra said...

Hi. I'm desperately trying to get in touch with other 'lone parents'. Do you know of any sites, like this one 'lone parent' which might help me to do that? Many thanks.

November 08, 2005 10:00 AM  

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