Sierra

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Dr. Goodword
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Sierra

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Nov 07, 2020 7:38 pm

• sierra •


Pronunciation: see-e-rê • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A mountain range with a jagged line of peaks or ragged profile. 2. A west coast Spanish mackerel.
Image
Notes: Today's word is a beautiful Spanish gift to English, used by speakers who probably are unaware of its meaning in many geographical names. Sierra in Spanish originally referred only to the cutting tool, a saw. But the jagged blade of a saw lent its name metaphorically to the jagged ridges of mountains like the Sierra Nevada, the snow-covered saw in Spain. (Yes, Nevada means "snow-covered" in Spanish—an odd name for a state that shares Death Valley and the Mojave Desert with California, no?)

In Play: The "sierra" in the names of the African nation of Sierra Leone "Lion Saw", the Sierra National Forest which contains much of the California, Sierra Nevada, and the Sierra Club came along after the figurative sense sierra had become the second meaning of the Spanish word. The same is true of the Sierra Madre ("Mother Range") mountain range in Mexico, and the setting of the 1948 Humphrey Bogart classic, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", directed by John Huston.

Word History: Sierra is the Spanish descendant of Latin serra "saw", the origin of which is unknown. The adjective from this word was serratus "like a saw blade, serrated", upon which English based its adjective serrated, referring to knife blades that are toothy like a saw. The Spanish word today means both "saw" and "jagged mountain range".
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bnjtokyo
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Re: Sierra

Postby bnjtokyo » Sat Nov 07, 2020 9:38 pm

But please note that the thumbnail photo illustrating this word is of the Grand Teton in Grand Teton National Park in the Teton Range of the Rocky Mountains. The name of the range is attributed to French-speaking fur trappers who referred to the Grand Teton and its two neighboring peaks as les trois tétons (the three teats).

No saws in sight.

Here are two links to photos of the snow-covered Sierra Nevada taken from Lick Observatory (or nearby) in the California Coast Range near San Jose, CA
http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi- ... lassic=YES
and
https://www.hippostcard.com/listing/195 ... 3/16117117

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Dr. Goodword
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Re: Sierra

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:50 am

I removed the warning that these were not mountains called "Sierra" from the text of this word thinking no one would spot it. Sorry for underestimating you.
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LukeJavan8
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Re: Sierra

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Nov 08, 2020 1:06 pm

And St. Junipero Serra was the Franciscan missionary
and founder of a number of church mission sites in
California.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

bnjtokyo
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Re: Sierra

Postby bnjtokyo » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:37 am

Dr Goodword, I'm fond of both the Sierra Nevada and the Tetons. I last visited the Tetons in 1917, and I observed the total solar eclipse on August 17 not far from the barn on Mormon Row shown in the original thumbnail (or Antelope Flats which is probably where the buffalo currently pictured is grazing). The centerline of the track of totality passed just a couple kilometers south of Mormon Row and Antelope Flats. It is also of interest to note that Shane was made in this area.

I did pass close to the Sierra on that trip, but was unfortunately separated from them by a few vertical kilometers of air.

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Re: Sierra

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:59 pm

Shane was a great movie.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

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Re: Sierra

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:09 am

Shane was a great movie.
The very first movie I ever saw as a very young boy, taken
to the theater with mother and her sister. I remember Shane
leaving and the boy calling after him.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----


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