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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Apr 29, 2021 10:26 pm

• lave •

Pronunciation: layv • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To wash, bathe. 2. To wash against or over.

Notes: Here is an old word we might meet in 19th or early 20th century literature or modern poetry. It comes with at least one derivation, laver, which means "wash basin" or refers to a variety of edible seaweed. Laverbread is still alive and well in Wales. It is made from boiled seaweed which is minced, rolled in oatmeal, fried, and served at breakfast.

In Play: We might meet today's Good Word used literally in a poetic sentence like this: "Italy, a land laved by sea and mountain air, is beautiful both by day and by night". It is just as likely to occur figuratively, though: "Her kindnesses laved over him like the waves of a warm sea."

Word History: Today's Good Word derives from Old English lafian "wash, pour (water)". This word arose from an early Germanic borrowing of French laver "to wash", as suggested by Dutch laven and German laben "to refresh". French received it from Latin lavare "to wash", which went on also to become Spanish and Portuguese lavar, and Italian lavare "to wash". Lavare came from PIE leue- "to wash", which also went into the making of Greek louein "to wash". English inherited the PIE word directly via its Germanic ancestors as lather. It also borrowed many words with the Latin stem in them, including lavatory and launder. (Let's give Tomasz Kowaltowski a round of applause for suggesting today's rather poetic Good Word in the Agora.)
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Re: Lave

Postby bnjtokyo » Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:45 am

Laver, the substance but not the word, is alive and well in Japan and Korea. I imagine many Agorans know it and have eaten it in the form of nori, the dried seaweed that forms the wrapping in nigiri at the sushi bar. "Laver," the word, does appear from time to time in guidebooks discussing Japanese and Korean food.
Here is a link to a print by Hiroshige showing laver (nori) being harvested in the neighborhood in which I now live. The print is from the mid-19th century; now that location corresponds roughly to Haneda International Airportファイル:No ... oshige.jpg

Dr Goodword, thank you for running this word which motivated me to learn more about the complicated Pyropia lifecycle and the surprising Japanese - Welch connection that underlies modern nori production. Here's a link to the Wikipedia article about that

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Re: Lave

Postby misterdoe » Wed May 05, 2021 12:42 am

I've seen this word in word puzzles online and on my phone but never in print... before today. :)

Philip Hudson
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Re: Lave

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun May 09, 2021 10:22 pm

Lord, deliver me from Laverbread or any related comestible whether from Wales or any other place. Seaweed is not on my diet. I have numerous Japanese and Chinese friends and they try to sneak a little seaweed into my diet on occasion. So far they haven't fooled me. My Welsh ancestors may have eaten it but not I.

As for the word lave, it is a beautiful word and a lovely thing to do.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

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