This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 12 May 2017

Word To Use Today: selachian.

You say this word si-LAKE-ee'n, so this is a word that can be thrown about as casually as a silk scarf.

Selachian describes the members of the Selachii, which sound as if they should be Ancient Greek star-nymphs but which are actually fish which have to make do with cartilage instead of bones: that is, sharks, skates, dogfish and rays.

I was going to make a joke about them living in seas, not lakes (selachian, geddit?) but I discover to my horror that there are fresh water sharks:

Bullshark Beqa Fiji 2007.jpg
bull shark, photo by Terry Goss

Speartooth shark melbourne.jpg
Speartooth shark, photo by Bill Harrison 

which means that I'm going to be counting my toes if I ever have to paddle across a river, I can tell you.

One last word on the subject of sharks: people killed by sharks every year, on average, fewer than ten; sharks killed by people every year, about a hundred million.

So there's an example of hideous ferocity, isn't it?

Word To Use Today: selachian. This word is Greek and comes from selakhē, a shark, and is related, rather wonderfully, to selas, brightness.

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