• ablaqueate •
Pronunciation: ê-blæ-kwi-ayt (US), ah-blah-kwi-ayt (UK) • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: To loosen or remove the soil over the roots of a plant to expose them to air or rain, or to hold rainwater.
Notes: This rarely used verb has not escaped the vocabulary of the botanist since its introduction in the 15th century. In fact, it is rarely used by botanists. It comes with an action noun, ablaqueation, and a yet-to-be-used adjective, ablaqueative.
In Play: This word is pretty much limited to gardening: "Rose Gardiner ablaqueated her fig tree every three months, but still it did not come back the following spring." But could we not stretch it to fit genealogy, too? "Madeleine spent tons of time and money ablaqueating her family tree."
Word History: Today's Good Word was based on the past participle, ablaqueatus, of ablaqueare "to loosen or weed the soil around roots", made up of ab "(away) from, dis-" + laqueare "to entangle". The English Latinate borrowings elaqueate "disentangle" and illaqueate "ensnare" are derived from the same word. Latin apparently inherited this word from PIE laku- "water basin (lake, sea)", which also gave us English lake, borrowed from Latin lacus "opening, hollow, lake, pool". We also borrowed lacuna from Latin, where it was a poetic variant of lacus with a metaphorical extension "void". (If you haven't already guessed, the mysterious arcanoglossarist known only as "Grogie" in the Agora recommended today's very rare Good Word.)