Printable Version
Pronunciation: ru-pes-tree-yên Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Done on stone or rocks. 2. Made of stone or rocks.

Notes: Today's adjective is one of three that describe different relationships to rocks. Rupestral refers to things that grow on rocks, as rupestral mosses. Rupestrine refers to animal and vegetable species that live among rocks, as a rupestrine mountain goat. Today's word refers to things done to rocks, as rupestrian sculpture or paintings.

In Play: A rupestrian mysteryRupestrian is used most widely to refer to things on rocks: "Kokopelli is a rupestrian figure found in many old cave dwellings in southwest Colorado, created by the ancestors of the Hopi. " However, the word is being used more and more to refer to what is done with rocks: "Stonehenge would seem to be a rupestrian temple built by ancient Britons even before the arrival of the Celts."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from Modern Latin rupestris "on or of rock", an adjective derived from Latin rupes "rock". The original PIE word, from which the Latin word descended, was rupeis "rock, crag" as a noun and "rip up, break out of" as a verb. It emerged in Serbian as rupa "hole" and in English probably as rubble and rubbish. (Today's Good Word was suggestion by a seasoned Lexiterian of the Alpha Agora, known there only as Grogie.)

Dr. Goodword,

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