This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Sunday Rest: scutiform. Word Not To Use Today.

A scut is the white bobbing tail of a rabbit, but scutiform, (pronounced skyootiform) is nothing so joyful or innocent.

These things are all scutiform: the cartilage that stops your ears from being floppy; a nasturtium leaf; the body of a male black-legged tick; my old school badge.

What do they all have in common?

Well, they're all, more or less, shield-shaped. If you're being really picky (though I've never actually come across anyone this picky) then it should be something in the shape of the Roman scutum, which, to put a stop to any wild imaginings you may be having, is, well, a shield.

Scutum -

I suppose we must, if reluctantly, allow anatomists, entomologists, and botanists to use the word scutiform, but even then only for purely professional purposes.

Otherwise, if you wish to be loved, or even tolerated, then shield-shaped really is a much much more lovable option.

Word Not To Use Today: scutiform. This word comes from the Latin words scūtum, shield, and forma, which means shape. 

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