This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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



Monday, 20 November 2017

Spot the Frippet: latex.

The real reason The Word Den featuring latex is really to share the thrilling news that the plural of latex is latices.* 

The sad thing is that The Word Den can't imagine any circumstance in which anyone would need to use a plural of latex.

Ah well.

Latex is the milky-looking fluid that oozes out of about 20,000 different types of plants, including the rubber tree, whose latex is used to make, yes, rubber:


photo by Jan-Pieter Nap

Latex usually appears when a plant is wounded, when it acts as an insect repellent. In fact, the latex of the Sandhill Milkweed is more than a repellent because it kills nearly a third of the baby Monarch butterfly caterpillars that try to feed on it.

Where to find latex? Well, apart from in the garden it's used to make balloons, gloves, mattresses and chewing gum; latex from poppies is the basis for morphine and codeine; it's used in paints (when you scratch a scratch card, you're scratching away latex), and it's found sometimes in cement, and often in glue.

All that, and it has a ridiculous plural, as well.

What sort of brilliant stuff is that?

Spot the Frippet: latex. This word comes from Latin, where it means liquid or fluid.

*Though you can say latexes, instead, if you're boring.)

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