This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Word To Use Today: newt.

The trouble with this word is that it sounds uncomfortably like someone treading on one.

Still, let's celebrate the glory of newts.

Firstly, they are pretty near to being frogs with super-model figures. Yes, they're elegant, newts.

Secondly, newts come from the sub-family Pleurodelinae of the family Salamandridae - and if those words aren't magic then they jolly well ought to be.

Thirdly, if they lose a limb (they are, I'm afraid, notoriously careless in this respect) they can regenerate it. They can regenerate their jaws, eyes and even their hearts, too. Neat.

Fourthly, the rough-skinned newt, Taricha granulosa, is poisonous enough to kill an adult human: but only if you eat it, when I think we must all agree it would serve you right. They're basically friendly things.

Fifthly, there's one species called the Black Knobby Newt, which must surely fill us all with abiding joy.

I must admit newts have played a comparatively small role in English Literature, but I must just mention, sixthly, the great Sir Isaac Newton, one of Jeremy Fisher's friends.

Word To Use Today: newt. This word started of as eft (which is still the word for a young newt that's old enough to have left the water where it was born), then it changed by some mysterious means to euft and then to ewt. Later on an ewt became a newt* - and a word was born.

*See HERE for more of this sort of thing. 

1 comment:

  1. My opinion of newts has gone up after this. Never rated them much till today. Blame Ken Livingstone for that!