Category Archives: Word Hijinks!!

Word of the Day: Petrichor

Petrichor — “The pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell.”

“Petrichor, the name for the smell of rain on dry ground, is from oils given off by vegetation, absorbed onto neighboring surfaces, and released into the air after a first rain.”

via the outstanding Aron Walker, who’s currently teaching chemistry for the peace corps, and who just saw Tanzania’s first rains.

definition via wordsmith

image via ffffound


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Totally excellent new favorite Word of the Day! ratiocination

ratiocination:  to form judgments by a process of logic, reasoning.


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Anya’s word revelation

I just met Anya Kamenetz, and the first thing she said to me was “your name is a verb!”  

To be fair, my name is both a noun AND a verb — but Anya went on to point out that verb names are usually male: “Peter (as in peter out), Mark, Drew, Bill, Will, Bob, Chuck, Buck, Trip, Skip, Flip, Grant, Spike, Mike (Mic), Pat (unisex), Mat, Josh, Dash, Ham, Biff, Rock”, and nouns or adjectives names tend to be female: “Amber, Rosy, Daisy, Jasmine, Violet, Lily, Pearl, Ruby, Summer, April, Angel, Amber, Carol, Grace, Faith, Hope, Autumn, Eve, Dawn”.

I brainstormed for a minute to try and come up with a counterexample, and the best I could come up with was “May”, a potential adverb, although unfortunately connotative of hesitation or indecision in that sense, and more likely a reference to the month (again a noun).

I think this revelation is pretty stunning and it makes me wonder about the ways my name may have affected my life?  What do you think the significance of the verb/noun+adjective male/female correlation is?



(FWIW, Anya astoundingly happens to be the sister of a woman I picked up hitchhiking and gave a ride to SF to from Burning Man last year.. does meeting her qualify as a coincidence!?!?)

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Word of the Day: trifecta



a bet in which the person betting forecasts the first three finishers in a race in the correct order.


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Word of the Day: eutectic



relating to or denoting a mixture of substances (in fixed proportions) that melts and solidifies at a single temperature that is lower than the melting points of the separate constituents or of any other mixture of them.  


as in solder, a eutectic mixture (an important property when baking circuitboards in a temperature-controlled toaster oven)

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