This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Sunday Rest: middot. Word Not To Use Today.

Middot? It sounds satisfyingly mediaeval, doesn't it - like some cunning pest which infects the beards of billy goats. Sadly, though, middot is just another name for interpunct.

If that doesn't help (and, let's face it, interpunct is an even more horrible word than middot) then they're also called centred dots (or bullet points if they're being used as, well, bullet points).

The middot started life showing the breaks●between●words●in●Latin●sentences. (It took over half a millennium to work out that a space works just as well.)

So there we are.  Middot. Not a bad word in itself, but sadly wrong for its job. The thing itself is jolly hard to make appear on screen, too. The online advice is to hold down the Alt key and type 0183, but it doesn't seem to work in Blogger. Or in Word, either, as far as I can see.

And even now, when I see the word middot, half the time I find myself imagining some cross between a midden and a divot.

And if there's one place not to build a golf course...

Word Not To Use Today: middot. Mid goes right back to the Gothic midjis, and dot comes, rather horribly, from the Old English dott, the head of a boil. Before that it's to do with the Old High German tutta, nipple.

Middot is also Hebrew for measurements, and refers to the description of the second temple in Jerusalem in the Talmud.

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