This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 21 September 2012

Word To Use Today: syrup.


Isn't that nice?

A syrup is a thick liquid, usually made of sugar dissolved in water (syrups are thick because the hydrogen in the sugar sticks itself to the water molecules and makes the whole thing go gungy).

Syrups can be flavoured and used in recipes:

Employed to make medicine slightly less disgusting:

Or, like maple syrup:

Catching sap for maple syrup, Beaver Meadow Audubon Center, North Java, New York
Photo Dave Pape

swigged straight from the bottle.*

Syrups can be made of sprouted barley, birch sap, palm trees, corn, grass and even ferns.

Still on a sugary theme, a work of art so sweet that it induces feelings of nausea is syrupy:

And if that picture doesn't make you feel sick then there's always syrup of ipecacuanha. It's made of the poisonous roots of the ipecac plant and was formerly of use in making people vomit. Luckily it isn't used any more, and I only reason I really put it in because I can spell it. 

As a break from all that sweetness, I'm glad to say that in Britain a syrup is a slang name for a wig.

Word To Use Today: syrup. This word came to English from the Latin word syrupus, from the Arabic word for beverage
شراب‎, sharab.

The word meaning wig is rhyming slang from syrup of figs.

*Or is that just you?

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