Printable Version
Pronunciation: -mês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: The residue of fruit, nuts, fish, or anything else after the liquid has been squeezed out of it.

Notes: Does this word sound a lot like pumice to you? We hope you did not confuse the two in your holiday food preparation. Although pomace is high in fiber, it is used mostly in pet and livestock feeds. These two words are pronounced identically by sheer chance (see Word History). This good word is a lexical orphan, all alone in the world—without even a plural.

In Play: We try to run this word during the holiday season because it offers so many opportunities for its use. I'm not referring to the insignificant discussions of what to do with the orange pomace after squeezing out the juice or the apple pomace remaining after pressing the cider: "After shopping all weekend I feel like a bag of human pomace!" And once the kids got all the gifts out of the wrapping paper, what will the living room look like—right! Gift pomace. Give this Good Word a good workout whenever you encounter a left-over mess.

Word History: This very Good Word was pomis in Middle English (until Shakespeare's time), having been slipped away from Medieval Latin pomacium "cider", a word based on Vulgar (street) Latin poma "apple, fruit". That is the same root we find in French pomme "apple", pomme-de-terre "ground apple = potato", and pomegranate the "apple" with all the seeds. Pumice came from Anglo-Norman pomis, a descendant of Latin pumex "foam, pumice". This word is a cousin of Sanskrit phena and Russian pena "foam" and, probably, English foam.

Dr. Goodword,

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