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Sunday 28 August 2011

Sunday Rest: Word Not To Use Today: homunculus.

Homunculus. Now what could one of those be, but a hunched and vicious monster?

Well, even a homunculus has its good side. There are, for example, guardian homunculi. If you'd like one of your own you just have to get a black dog to pick a mandrake root, which you then feed on milk and honey - though some homunculi apparently prefer lavender seeds and earthworms.

In alchemy, homunculi are said to be eager to be turned into metal, now matter how painful the process might be. There was also a theory that every human started off as a teeny teeny homunculus who just gradually...grew.

Homunculi, dismayingly, are still used in science today. These homunculi are distorted pictures which show how many sense cells there are in each part of the human body - so the fingers, for instance, which have many sense cells, are enormous.

You know, the whole thing is really, really, horrible, isn't it.

Word Not To Use Today, Or, In Fact, Ever: homunculus. This word is 17th century Latin and means little man.

And it's horrible.

1 comment:

  1. Yep! A truly horrid word this but somehow fascinating. Glad you've thought to write about it.


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