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 June 2013

Word To Use Today: gallipot.

Gallipot, or galipot means...well, what it means depends on which dictionary you consult. Collins says it's resin gathered from pine trees, especially Pinus pinaster, a tree of Southern Europe.

The OED, on the other hand, says a gallipot is a small glazed earthenware jar once used for holding ointment and medicine. 

This meaning has been extended to give us a nickname for the  pharmacist who makes the ointment.

On-line I found a reference to gallipot words, which are obscure words used to make the speaker look clever. (This means that the phrase gallipot words is autological, then.)

Oh dear...It seems that no one's agreed on what gallipot means, and it's far, far too charming a word to ignore. I think I shall go with the pharmacist meaning. But probably not when he's listening.

Word To Use Today: gallipot. The galli bit of this word probably comes from the sort of galley that's a ship, because that was how the medicines (and resin, I suppose) arrived. The phrase gallipot words comes from pharmacists' habit of using baffling Latin abbreviations when labelling their gallipots.

No comments:

Post a Comment