This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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



Friday, 13 December 2013

Word To Use Today: culaccino

How many words are there in the English language?

Ooh, loads. I mean, a really massive amount.

The Oxford English Dictionary contains 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words (though if they're in an in-print dictionary surely that means they aren't obsolete, doesn't it?). There are also 9,500 words included as subentries. That makes 218,632 words - and that's without counting different forms of the same word, such as counter, counts, counted, etc.

And then there are all the technical terms, and the new words not yet in the dictionary, and the local words of which the learned folk of the OED have never heard.

But, you know what? However many words there are, there aren't enough.

Never mind. English are great word-stealers, so we can easily add some more to our hoard.

For today may I suggest the Italian word culaccino. (The Italians would pronounce the single c as in cat, and the double c rather like the ch in church.)

A culaccino is the mark left on a surface by a cold glass.

The great and magical thing about this word is that once we know it our eyes will be opened to a new piece of science and a new form of beauty.

File:Macro photo of condensation on glass.jpg
Photo: Flickr user Clearly Ambiguous

Mind you, I suppose there will still be those who'll merely reach for a cleaning cloth.

Their loss, eh?

Word To Use Today: culaccino. This word also means the end of a piece of sausage or bread, the bottom of a glass. It is a diminuative of culaccio, which means rump.


4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. And I don't want even to think about cul de sacs.

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  2. It's culo in Italian too. So I think I'll call it a bum mark. Is it a bum mark with coffee stains as well? Or is it better not to think about that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, what the heck. 'Tis the season to be jolly.

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