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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Apr 02, 2006 5:52 pm

• pandiculation •

Pronunciation: pæn-di-kyê-ley-shên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: No, this word doesn't mean "acting like a panda"; it has nothing to do with pandas except right after they wake up. This Good Word refers to the full body stretch, stretching the entire body, including the jaws (something pandas probably do, too, when they are sleepy).

Notes: This roundly Good Word is about to leave us. It is already gone from the Merriam-Webster and American Heritage collegiate dictionaries already, even though there is no substitute for this word that distinguishes the full body stretch from partial ones. Pandiculation is the noun from pandiculate, which means that someone who pandiculates must be a pandiculator.

In Play: Here is a good word to put into play in just about every situation. At home you might try: "Honey, the rampant pandiculation in your audience suggests we may have seen enough of your slides." Can't you just hear how this word would work at work? "Most of the activity on my shift is pandiculation."

Word History: English snapped this Good Word up from the French, who inherited it from Latin pandiculari "to stretch oneself" from pandere "to spread, unfold'. The past participle of pandere is passus, a root we see in passage, something that also stretches quite a way. Leaves also stretch out as they grow, so Greek based its word for leaf, petalos, on this same root. We, of course, borrowed the Greek word as our petal. In the Germanic languages the same original root became fathmaz "the length of two arms stretched out", which we inherited as fathom, a measurement of length about 6 feet long. (We can never quite fathom how Susan Lister comes up with so many good words for us but clearly she doesn't waste much time pandiculating.)
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Postby Perry » Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:03 pm

No doubt the chiropractics have been conspiring to relegate this word to extinction. They would prefer that we give up prandiculation and let them stretch and mash us into shape. (Don't tell them I said so :oops: !)

By the way, when and how did the chiropractors become chiropractics? This is a change that seems to have sneaked up on me.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."

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Postby Stargzer » Mon Apr 10, 2006 3:13 am

Dogs, and I suppose cats, too, are the masters of pandiculation. Our Chocolate is the noisiest yawning dog I've ever seen. :)

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