This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sunday Rest: Word Not To Use Today: troglodyte.

Well, here's an ungainly, stomping sort of a word.


It means someone who lives in a cave. My Collins dictionary says it's particularly used to describe prehistoric people, and though it's true we do tend to call early prehistoric people cavemen I must say that during all my recent researches for my Ice Age novel (it's not published yet, we're still at the arguing-about-the-title stage*), I can't say I ever came across the word so used.

Hey, and may I just take the opportunity to point out that there were never many caves, anyway? I mean, how many caves are there in your town?

It's a point that gets overlooked.

Modern troglodytes don't tend to live in caves, either, though the poeple who get called troglodytes do live a solitary and rather enclosed existence. They're probably be a bit odd, probably seldom leave their homes, and are possibly rather hairy.

I don't see why they should have to put up with being called such an ungainly name as troglodyte though.

What's wrong with hermit?

Or, if your hermit's a bit batty, you can always go with recluse.

All right, then, troglodyte means cave-dweller, so guess which animal has the scientific name Troglodytes troglodytes troglodytes? 

Well, it's a subspecies of the Winter wren, a tiny European bird shorter than its English, let alone its scientific, name. 

In England we sensibly usually just call it the wren. 

It doesn't live in caves, either.

Word Not To Use Today: troglodyte.  This started off as a Greek word, trōglodutēs, one who enters caves, from trōglē, a hole, plus duein, to enter.

*STOP PRESS. The book is to be called SONG HUNTER. I think that'll do.

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