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CANCRINE

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CANCRINE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat May 27, 2006 11:16 pm

• cancrine •

Pronunciation: kang-kreen • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Crab-like, having the features and characteristics or the shape of a crab (cancriform); crooked, bent, moving sideways. 2. Related to crabs.

Notes: The English language exhibits an odd quirk when it comes to the names of animals: while the names themselves are of native Germanic origin (dog, cat, cow, horse, pig), the neutral adjectives that semantically correspond to those names are all borrowed from French (canine, feline, bovine, equine, porcine). This may be the case because we tend to associate negative characteristics with animals which carry over to their native adjectives: dogged, catty, cowish, horsy, piggy or piggish. Today's good adjective is among their number: cancrine is the neutral adjective because crabby has such pejorative connotations.

In Play: Crabs are taken to have jagged shapes, so today's word most often refers to squarish, jagged figures: "Dutch Masters wrote his name in a cancrine scrawl that couldn't be read but also couldn't be mistaken for another hand." Although cancrine itself is not pejorative, its associations are not particularly pleasant (crabs and cancer), so it can serve to underscore words that are already pejorative: "Featherstone's greasy leather jacket bore a cancrine swastika that announced his personality long before you were within range of his voice."

Word History: The Old French word cancre was borrowed into English both as cancer and as canker. The French word is a descendant of Latin cancer "crab", based on the Proto-Indo-European root kar- "hard". Since PIE [k] became [h] in Germanic languages, we are not surprised to see that it developed into English hard. It was also suffixed in Latin and Greek, where it emerges in karkinos "cancer", the root of English carcinoma and carcinogen. In Latin, however, it was first reduplicated into kar-kar, which would have been spelled "carcar". The repetition bothered Latin speakers, however, so they changed the first [r] to [n] (dissimilation), giving us cancer. (We don't want Grogie of the Alpha Agora to be crabby, so we had better thank him for suggesting today's word.)
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Postby gailr » Mon May 29, 2006 9:19 pm

Good word, grogie.
1. Crab-like, having the features and characteristics or the shape of a crab (cancriform); crooked, bent, moving sideways.


For the proper steps to the definitive, competition-class Cancrine, click on Chapter X.

-gailr

`It must be a very pretty dance,' said Alice timidly.
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Postby Grogie » Tue May 30, 2006 5:47 am

Thanks Gail.
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Postby Perry » Tue May 30, 2006 12:25 pm

gailr wrote:Good word, grogie.
1. Crab-like, having the features and characteristics or the shape of a crab (cancriform); crooked, bent, moving sideways.


For the proper steps to the definitive, competition-class Cancrine, click on Chapter X.

-gailr

`It must be a very pretty dance,' said Alice timidly.


Bozo Under the Sea wasn't my the only LP + Book set in my collection Gail. I can never read or think about Alice in Wonderland without hearing Cyrill Richard in my mind's ear. (Nor would I want to.) His reading of this wonderful [and for a change the pun was not intended!] tale was very skilled and animated.

On a related note, my daughter (who is 10) recited Jabberwocky in school last week. I had such a delightful time helping her learn her lines.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
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