June 1st, 2015

Hand - ☞

Sunday Word: Ululate

ul·u·late [ˌəl-yə-ˈlāyt]:
origin: [early 1600's] Latin; ululatus; past participle of ululāre= to howl or shriek.

You may know this as the "Xena" war cry, but it's a sound that exists in many cultures. The simplest way to describe it is as an undulating (wave-like) shout; a shrill cry that is back & forth between different pitches -- not a musical type of baying like yodeling.

It's a sound found in nature as well, examples being: coyotes, wolves, and owls.

The word can be thought of exclusively as a mourning sound, expressing extreme grief (such as a funeral), although throughout Africa and the Middle East ululating is also a sound used in celebrations and ceremonies. In short, the sound punctuates an important event; it's a small, non-verbal announcement!

People in Africa demonstrate ululating.


Monday word: escutcheon

escutcheon  (ĭ-skŭch′ən), noun
1. An emblem, usually shield-shaped, bearing a coat of arms.
2. A protective or ornamental plate or flange (as around a keyhole, door handle, light switch, etc.).
3. A plate on a ship's stern where the name is displayed.

Etymology:  from Latin scutum, shield.

I would like to replace the knobs on my cabinets, as they're dull and plastic-y and quite a few have permanently come loose from the bolts that hold them on the cabinet doors.  But each knob also has a dull and plastic-y escutcheon.  And the wood under the escutcheon has an imprinted outline of the escutcheon pattern, and has weathered differently.  Which means I would either need to re-finish the cabinet doors, or replace the escutcheons with even larger ones to hide the variations.

Today's word is brought to you by autocorrect:  I was trying to text my friend about taking my spare Costata romanesca squash seedlings, and it kept changing to "Costa Roman escutcheon".  I thought it an odd word for autocorrect to know - and odd to go there when it's such a short trip to Romanesque.  But that's autocorrect for you.