This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Nuts and Bolts: Gifts from Amazon.

What do all these things have in common?

File:1950 Jaguar XK120 34.jpg
photo by Sfoskett

File:Agouti .jpg
photo by brian.gratwicke

Cashew apples.jpg

File:Petunia 2.jpg
photo by Elena Chochkova

File:Tapioca - മരച്ചീനി 05.JPG
Photo by കാക്കര

File:Chestnut-fronted Macaw RWD.jpg
photo by DickDaniels 

and last, but by no means least:

(They're a Jaguar car, an agouti, a cashew fruit, petunias, tapioca roots, a chestnut-fronted macaw, and a Brazilian tapir in case you didn't recognise them).

Does that help?

To which list I could add cayenne pepper, a cougar, and a toucan.


Well, all these words (and more) have come to us from the Tupi-Gurani group of South American languages.

And I, for one, am grateful.

Word To Use Today: one from a Tupi-Gurani language. Tupi-Gurani words tend to come to English through Portuguese, and/or French. Agouti comes from akuti, cashew from acaîu, cayenne from kyinha, macaw from macavuana (which may be the name of a type of palm tree, the fruit of which macaws eat) petunia from petun, which means smoke, jaguar from jaguara, tapioca from a word meaning 'juice squeezed out', toucan from tucano, and the beautiful tapir from tapiira.

PS Another reason to celebrate: it's World Tapir Day today!  

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