Xeriscape

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Dr. Goodword
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Xeriscape

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:42 pm

• xeriscape •


Pronunciation: ze-rê-skayp • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Landscaping with plants that require little water, such as those that grow naturally in arid regions or deserts.

Notes: This word is so new (see Word History) that it hasn't had time to create a lexical family. It may be used as a verb meaning "to create a xeriscape" so, we are left with the participles, xeriscaping and xeriscaped to work with. Note that this word begins with an X, not a Z, though it is pronounced like a Z.
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In Play: Xeriscapes may be in the future of America and other countries: "Global warming is behind the growing number of xeriscapes across America." There are personal factors also contributing to the rise of xeriscapes: "Will Doolittle decided to convert his lawn into a xeriscape because he didn't like watering the lawn or paying the water bill for doing so."

Word History: The Denver Water Department first blended xeric "very dry" + landscape to create today's Good Word in 1981. The method was developed by this department to encourage Denverites to save water. Xeric was created from Greek xeros "dry". Landscape was borrowed from Dutch landschap "landscape", comprising land "land" + -schap a suffix meaning "-ship, condition of". In fact, the English suffix -ship derived from the same Proto-Germanic suffix -skepi, which also may be seen today in Danish -skab, German -schaft, and Dutch -schap. It goes back to the PIE word (s)kep-/(s)kop- "to cut, scrap, chop", which also produced English shape and German schaffen "to create". So, the original derivation meant "land creation" or "shaped land". (Especial thanks now go to Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, one of the Good Word's editors for more than a decade, for sharing this word with us.)
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Slava
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Re: Xeriscape

Postby Slava » Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:40 pm

Sometime this year is this word's 40th birthday! There aren't too many out there where we know when and where they originated. I wonder how we could go about tracking down the actual first use. :?: Sounds like a job for bnjtokyo, to me. Hint, hint.
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Re: Xeriscape

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:45 am

I assume a word has been around at least 6 months before it appears in print. Most lexicographers assume that it isn't an actual word until it does appear in print. The actual date the Oxford English Dictionary can find is May 19, 1982: "Denver Post 19 May (Neighbors Central section) 3/2 Xeriscape is the Denver Water Department's idea of practicing what it so often preaches—conserve the water."

So, we have another year if we rely on what we can prove.
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Philip Hudson
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Re: Xeriscape

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri May 14, 2021 8:46 pm

Xeriscape is a new word to me but not a new experience. In the past 60 or 70 years the north-south line dividing bone-dry Texas from it- sometimes-rains Texas has overridden, from west to east, my county of Live Oak. Where we once produced a bale of cotton per acre, nobody produces much of anything anymore. But -- the deer and the antelope still play.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.


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