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Words in freerice.com

A discussion of word histories and origins.

Words in freerice.com

Postby ClaireM » Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:43 pm

Please can I query the following which are in the upper echelons of freerice (I have rating 54).
(1) You have written 'Celadine' whereas in England this yellow spring flower is known as 'Celandine' and the OED has only this spelling, as does Random House dictionary.
(2) The stones, such as some of those which make up Stonehenge, are SARSEN not sarcen. The latter word, derived from Saracen, refers to silky material - a corruption of sarcenet, which word has been in use since medieval times. The spelling with 's' referring to stones first appears in the 17th century. OED still places the etymology with Saracen - it may be that on average such stones are tall and narrow, perhaps even narrowing to the top by weathering. Note that there are numerous English pubs and inns called "The Saracen's Head" but very few just called "The Saracen". To digress even further, I remember as a child that we called the wild flowers of the genus Plantago either "Turk's Head" or "Saracen's Head".
I must not get started on plant names - they are such a fascinating topic.
ClaireM in Liverpool
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Catches

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:55 am

ClairM,

Thank you for the typo catches. If you find any more, please send them to me directly either here or at the alphaDictionary website.

If you like flower names, have you read Martha Barnett's "A Garden of Words"? You would enjoy it if you haven't already.

--RB
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