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Friday, 3 August 2012

Word To Use Today: javelin.

Javelins have been around for at least 400,000 years.

That's longer than there have been people.

The 400,000 year-old ones found in Germany are made of spruce and would have been used by either Homo erectus:

or Homo heidelbergensis:

Homo heidelbergensis Used Spears to Hunt Game - Public Domain

These throwing spears are quite front-heavy, which is what suggests they were javelins and not just used for stabbing.

A javelin is designed to go far and fast, and javelins have given their name to various aircraft, plane engines, rockets, trains, cars, coaches, phones, racing dinghies and phones.

There's also a Javelin frog:

 a Javelin sand boa:

 a Javelin fish:

drawing by Dr Tony Ayling

(my dictionary says it has a long spine on its anal fin, but I can't see it here.)

and a javelin spookfish, which does look very like a ghost, especially when seen from the front:

File:Bathylychnops exilis.gif

A javelin argument is one supporting the infinite size of the universe: and, let's face it, if the universe can come up with you, me, and the javelin spookfish then it must be absolutely flipping enormous.

Spot the frippet: javelin. This word comes from the Old French word javeline, which is a version of javelot, which is Celtic.

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