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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Jan 21, 2007 11:43 pm

• frangible •

Pronunciation: fræn-jê-bêl • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Capable of being broken, breakable.

Notes: Unlike the related adjective, fragile, frangible does not bear the implication of being easily broken. It also has no connotation of being brittle. It is the antonym of unbreakable (infrangible). The adverb is frangibly and the noun, referring to the state of being breakable, is frangibility.

In Play: The important aspect of today's Good Word is that it refers to the breakability of objects that are not fragile: "I'm sorry we broke the coat tree but you shouldn't put anything that frangible so near the refrigerator door." This word is almost always used in its literal sense but there is no reason why we cannot extend that sense metaphorically: "Many critics find US immigration laws too frangible."

Word History: The Proto-Indo-European language had a sound [bh] very similar to English [b] but with the puff of air that comes with the letter [p] (say "puh" with your hand in front of your mouth). At the beginning of words, it became [f] in Latin. This is how the borrowed word furnace, which originated in Latin, developed directly into English burn. So, the original PIE root bhreg- "break" emerged in Latin as frango "I break", fractus "broken" but in English the same root turned into break. Oh, you noticed that! Yes, fracture is a borrowing from French that originated in the Latin past participle fractus. (Chris Berry gave us all a big break by sharing this very interesting and useful word with us. Thanks, Chris.)
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Postby gailr » Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:28 am

Anatomy Class
by K. E. Duffin

You begin to be familiar with the dead,
how their minds grow small and leathery,
how the invisible bellows of the rib cage, bled
of breath, becomes a slatted ovoid sea,
a louvered egg, as form mumbles its lines,
a shambles of shadow and bared articulation.
This flensing and flaying to sway-backed spine
and vanished eye in its frangible chalky cavern
is how the world falls away from the knife
of time, leaving scattered drawings pinned
where a furtive pulse sped to shuddering white:
a barium moon swallowed by tolerable night,
a viny, strangling hand of winter wind,
a talc of sun dusting foreshortened life.

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Postby Perry » Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:41 am

The Alpha Agora version of [url]Achy Breaky Heart[/url]could be My Tangible Frangible Heart.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."

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Postby skinem » Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:27 pm

Very good and interesting explanation. (I learn something every time I'm on this board. Burn=furnace? Cool!)

Some hearts are more frangible than others...

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Postby tcward » Mon Jan 22, 2007 5:55 pm

And did the 'fickle [n]' disappear to give us fragile...?

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