Tall, dark, and rugose

I was idly wondering whence truffle derives, and why the candy is named the same as the mushroom, so I looked it up.

Turns out the word is cognate with tuber, which in Latin means swelling. I'm reminded of Arthur's old innuendoes about "starchy tubers."

Anyway, the definition doesn't explain why the two things have the same name; I'm assuming that the candy was considered to look vaguely like a truffle. But I love the first definition: "the usually dark and rugose edible subterranean fruiting body of several European ascomycetous fungi. . . ."

Partly I just like the phrase "edible subterranean fruiting body." But mostly I'm tickled by the phrase "dark and rugose." Rugose sounds like a cross between rugged and morose; it sounds like a word you'd apply to Aragorn.

But no, sadly, it turns out to mean wrinkled.

I've been saving word-related tidbits, rather than posting them here, in expectation that sooner or later I'll get around to writing those last five missing "Words & Stuff" columns. But I've got more than enough material for those (it's time to write 'em that's in short supply), so what the hell.

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