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POTAMOPHILOUS

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POTAMOPHILOUS

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:49 pm

• potamophilous •

Pronunciation: pah-tê-mah-fê-lês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Loving rivers, river-loving.

Notes: Today's Good Word is clearly related to hippopotamus; that is because this word comprises the Greek stems for "horse" hippos and "river" potamos. This latter stem also resides in several other words referring to rivers, including potamography, the geographic study of rivers and potamometer, the instrument for measuring river currents. If you are potamophilous, you are a potamophile and that particular love is known as potamophilia. (Remember the A is always between two Os.)

Before you even ask, the name of the Potomac River is not evidence that Greeks first settled Washington, DC, even if the gobbledygook emanating from there today sounds like Greek to you (see Word History). Potomac was the name of an Algonquian village long vanished that may have meant "something brought".

In Play: Despite the ostensible implication, your river does not have to contain hippopotamuses for you to wax potamophilous: "The Pennsylvania Potamophilous Society will hold a riparian repast by the susurrous Susquehanna River on Saturday, April 1 at 5 in the afternoon." If you go, you might catch sight of other potamophilous creatures such as a muskrat or a beaver.

Word History: The root of potamos is Proto-Indo-European *pot-/pet- "fly, flow". In potamos it means "that which flows" but the same root with the suffix -er turns up in Greek pteron "wing", found in pterodactyl "wing-finger". In Russian it is found with the common Russian suffix -ica in ptica "bird". We also find it in Sanskrit pattram "feather, leaf" and, finally, with the suffix -er again, in English feather, a coincidence that led to Dr. Goodword's article, "How is a Hippo like a Feather?"
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Postby Perry » Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:34 am

It's hard to not be potamophilous when you live near one of the oldest (and prettiest) rivers in the world.

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Postby Don » Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:46 am

Old politicians are said to get "Potomac fever". That is: Just about everybody in Washington originally came there from some place else; but when they lose their original jobs, some of them try to stay on - e.g., working as lobbiests. We say they contracted Potomac fever while in Washington. So I guess we might slightly modify Dr. G's word and describe them as Potomaphiliacs. I'm a retired bureaucrat, living in northern Virginia, and know whereof I speak.

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Re: POTAMOPHILOUS

Postby gailr » Fri Feb 09, 2007 11:49 am

Dr. Goodword wrote:"The Pennsylvania Potamophilous Society will hold a riparian repast by the susurrous Susquehanna River on Saturday, April 1 at 5 in the afternoon."

Sounds as though they're gonna take a sedimental journey.
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Postby Stargzer » Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:18 am

Perry wrote:It's hard to not be potamophilous when you live near one of the oldest (and prettiest) rivers in the world.

...


French Broad sounds like an epithet, in either sense of the word. Use it near the wrong woman and they'll be writing your epitaph.

WHICH reminds me of a card a friend, a reporter who covered Lebanon once long, long ago, got her mother years ago when her mother made her first trip to Europe:

Front: Hear you're going abroad.

Inside: Hope you come back a lady!
Regards//Larry

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