Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day (prettygoodword) wrote in 1word1day,
Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day


testaceous (te-STAY-shus) - adj., having a hard shell; having the light reddish-brown color of bricks.

The latter sense is depreciated for anything outside of entomology, in part because a testudo is a tortoise. As for the etymology, it was borrowed in 1646 from Latin testāceus, shell-covered, from testa, a shell or earthenware pot, and by extension a terra cotta brick + an adjectival ending. I confess, it's not as much fun to say as testudo, especially once you know about the testudo formation, but it's still a worthwhile state in an embattering world.

When The Descent of Man Charles Darwin described the male of a species of ant as testaceous, he meant it both ways.


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