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MAELSTROM

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MAELSTROM

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:44 pm

• maelstrom •


Pronunciation: mayl-strêm • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A violent, turbulent, and confused situation. 2. A large, powerful whirlpool

Notes: There are two potential pitfalls in the spelling of this word. First, be sure to keep the A and E on the same side of the L. The second thing to remember is that the second element is -strom, not storm, spelled the same as it is in Bergstrom and Nordstrom. (A malestorm is a wholly different matter.)

In Play: Today's Good Word is normally used in its figurative sense: "As soon as she moved, Maud Lynn Dresser threw herself into the maelstrom of parties, soirees, theater, and the balls that comprised high society in New Monia." The media are often the cause of such maelstroms: "The O. J. Simpson trial was held amidst a media maelstrom." However, the literal meaning survives: "Creighton Shippet's boat capsized in a maelstrom at sea."

Word History: This word is the descriptive name of a famous whirlpool off the west coast of Norway. In Middle Dutch it was spelled identically with the English maelstrom; in Modern Dutch it is maalstroom. The name was used by Dutch cartographers, including Mercator on his maps from 1595. This word originally meant "grinding-stream", from malen "to grind" + strom "stream", a name no doubt inspired by the whirlpool's spinning like a mill. The first of these two words is related to English mill, the greatest of all grinders, and the product of a mill, meal. Strom, of course, is cousin to English stream. (Today we have to thank Miriam Webster for suggesting today's Good if stormy Word. The name "Creighton Shippet" is due Dee Smith.)
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Re: MAELSTROM

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:30 pm

Always reminds me of the one off Sicily mentioned
by ancient playrights, and the name of which escapes me
now.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: MAELSTROM

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:01 am

Luke: Are you trying to remember the maelstrom of Charybdis in Homer's "Odyssey"? It was in The Strait of Messina, the narrow passage between Sicily and Italy.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: MAELSTROM

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:12 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:Luke: Are you trying to remember the maelstrom of Charybdis in Homer's "Odyssey"? It was in The Strait of Messina, the narrow passage between Sicily and Italy.




Right you are! Thanks a bunch. The old "thinker" is
not a sharp as it used to be. Must be part-timers.
Much appreciated.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: MAELSTROM

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:31 pm

Many years. Ago when I turned 65, i found I now had an excuse for what I've done all my life. At 25 or ever 45 I had no excuse. But NOW I have senior moments!
pl
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Re: MAELSTROM

Postby wurdpurrson » Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:35 am

New Monia. Isn't that the little town just south of Lower Expectations?
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Re: MAELSTROM

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:42 pm

Perry Lassiter wrote:Many years. Ago when I turned 65, i found I now had an excuse for what I've done all my life. At 25 or ever 45 I had no excuse. But NOW I have senior moments!


I call them "part-timers", "half-timers", or "some-timers".
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Re: MAELSTROM

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:20 am

wurdpurrson: Your mention of the little town of Lower Expectations reminds me that in Texas, among our other colorfully named towns, we have North Zulch. There is no Zulch or South Zulch, just North Zulch. There is a rumor that there was once a Zulch just south of North Zulch, but if there was it is long gone now.
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