Catoptric means “being or using a mirror to focus light,” according to MW11. I may have encountered it before, but I don’t think I knew what it meant.
I was vaguely aware of the word struthious as relating to ostriches, but I don’t think I had previously encountered it used metaphorically. Damon Knight, in his essay in Clarion II, wrote: Wollheim alludes to this episode in a typically struthious way[…] From context, I’m assuming that Knight meant that Wollheim had his head in […]
Leon Rosselson's song "Flying High, Flying Free" came on, and I don't know the song, so at the end of these lines: Butterfly, dragonfly, salmon and seal, whale and reindeer, cuckoo and eel, each of them doing the migration dance I just naturally assumed that the next line would be: And I'd do it too […]
I knew there was one t, but not y. Er, why.
The word 'tank' has a surprising variety of slang meanings, actually.
According to Wikipedia, “Blackacre, Whiteacre, Greenacre, Brownacre, and variations are the placeholder names used” by law professors and on law exams to discuss fictitious property.
Gneiss is one of those words that I have a hard time not making jokes about. I’m in the midst of labeling my photos from a 2014 trip to the British Museum. In most cases, I took a photo of a piece of art and then took a photo of the nearby explanatory card, but […]
According to David Darling’s website: SNC meteorites are a group of [meteorites] thought to have come from the surface of Mars and named after the initials of the places where the first three were found: Shergotty, India in 1865, Chassigny, France in 1815, and Nahkla, Egypt in 1911. The SNC subgroups are the shergottites, nakhlites, […]
Turns out that although I mentioned garden-path sentences once here in passing, I’ve never really written about them. A garden-path sentence is one that initially leads the reader to parse it in one way, but turns out to be structured differently than it appeared to be. The usual example, and the first example I encountered, […]
I was today years old, as the kids say, when I learned that the formal and former name of the melon baller is the parisienne scoop. Balls cut from fruits or vegetables are parisiennes.