Some words arrive like a fog-horn, startling everyone.
Such a one is varve.
Luckily you don't see a lot of varve about the place, unless your place happens to be at the bottom of a glacial lake. Apparently the sludge at the bottom of these places comes in tiger stripes, one light, one dark, depending upon whether it's deposited in the winter or the summer.
And this stuff is, sadly, called varve.
I suppose we must be grateful that geologists don't chatter much to the rest of us, or we might have to contend with varve crossings:
(photo by John Darch)
- or even liquorice varves.
A narrow escape, now I come to think about it.
Word Not To Use Today: varve. This word comes from the Swedish varv, which means layer, and before that from the Old Norse hverfa to turn.