• reticule •
Pronunciation: red-ê-kyul • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. Crosshairs, a grid of fine vertical and horizontal lines in an optical device or graphics editor for locating visual objects precisely. 2. A woman's fabric purse with drawstrings.
Notes: This word has been spelled reticle so many times that all English dictionaries now accept this spelling as that of a synonym. But we have a third synonym: graticule. Today's word is the basis for the verb reticulate [re-ti-kyê-layt] "divide or mark in a way that resembles a net". We have several adjectives from today's noun: reticulate [re-ti-kyê-lêt], reticular, and reticulated.
In Play: The most frequent usage of this word is in reference to the reticule in the telescopic lens of a rifle, used to focus it: "The reticule in my rifle sight is off by at least a foot, or I wouldn't have missed that deer we saw." However, it haunts the world of fashion in reference to a lady's purse: "Maude Lynn Dresser came to the party with a small embroidered reticule on which you could clearly see the outline of a pistol."
Word History: Today's word is réticule, the French hand-me-down of Latin reticulum "small net, a net bag", the diminutive of rete "net", a word of unknown origin. It is probably a word borrowed from a non-Indo-European language. It was used in Proto-Indo-European, for we find rėtis "sieve" in Lithuanian. No other evidence of it survived. Graticule is also a French word meaning "grid", borrowed from Italian graticola "griddle, gridiron", which Italian inherited from Latin craticula "small gridiron", a diminutive of cratis "wickerwork". Latin inherited this word from PIE kert- "to turn, intertwine". French also turned craticula into Old French greil, which became gril "grill" in Modern French, whence English borrowed it as grill.