• palisade •
pæ-lê-sayd • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A line of pales (pointed logs) serving as a fence or defensive wall. 2. [Palisades] A stretch of high cliffs along a river bank or overlooking a lake.
Notes: Today's is another very beautiful word, especially when referring to the cliffs along a river. Keep in mind, however, that we use only the plural to express this sense: the Palisades are the highlight of the Hudson River. You may 'verb' this noun in as much as you can palisade your home, if you feel insecure, by surrounding it with closely packed pales.
In Play: A palisade is a labor-intensive means of defense: "Dewey Rose built a sturdy palisade around his garden to keep out the rabbits but a late frost nonetheless did it in." Palisades along a river or lake are just to be enjoyed: "The palisades along Split Rock Creek in South Dakota are so majestic Jesse James vacationed there in a cave for several days after his robbery of the Northfield, Minnesota bank." (Or so legend would have it.)
Word History: This Good Word is French palissade touched up only very slightly. It comes from palissa "stake" + -ade, a suffix often referring to groups (brigade, parade). Palissa is a remnant of Late Latin *palicea from Latin palus "stake". The ultimate PIE root was pa(n)g- "fasten" with our old friend, Fickle N, sometimes there, sometimes not. It does not appear in palus or in pact, which comes from Latin pacisci "to agree" nor pax "peace", the result of a pact. Patio also comes from this verb via Old Provenšal pati "pasture" and Old Spanish, where patio referred to an inner courtyard. Fickle N did invade the Germanic languages where we find fangen "capture, seize" in German and English fang, by which animals seize things. (We are happy that Lyn Laboriel was seized by the desire to suggest that we investigate today's very lovely word.)
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