Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Garden Dictionary 2nd Edition

It's been a while since I've done a gardening-related "Word of the Day" post and I wasn't planning on doing one for a while, but I just received the e-mail from Dictionary.com with this word and I just had to share:

Word of the Day for Tuesday, April 3, 2012

zeitgeber \TSAHYT-gey-ber\, noun:
An environmental cue, as the length of daylight, that helps to regulate the cycles of an organism's biological clock.

The light–dark transition Zeitgeber is widely used by plants to set internal clocks not just for leaf movement but for many other activities as well.
-- John King, Reaching for the Sun
The most prominent zeitgeber in humans is the light/dark cycle.
-- Harold R. Smith, Cynthia Comella, Birgit Högl, Sleep Medicine

Zeitgeber comes directly from the German word which literally means "time-giver." It entered into English in the 1970s.

And here are a few more from the first quarter of 2012 accompanied by my own version of the "use it in a sentence" bit.

Tellurian \te-LOOR-ee-uhn\, adjective:
1. Of or characteristic of the earth or its inhabitants.
1. An inhabitant of the earth.
The dirt in my backyard has a Tellurian smell to it.

esculent \ES-kyuh-luhnt\, noun:

1. Something edible, especially a vegetable.
1. Suitable for use as food; edible.
Sometimes I think that we have too many words.  The fact that esculent and edible, which are similar sounding words that have identicle meanings, leaves a bad, in-esculant taste in my mouth.

I don't care what the French say, these garden pests are not esculent escargot.

vernal \VUR-nl\, adjective:
1. Appearing or occurring in spring.
2. Of or pertaining to spring.
3. Appropriate to or suggesting spring; springlike.
4. Belonging to or characteristic of youth.
If it weren't for the vernal equinox, no one would know that vernal pertains to spring. 

furcate \FUR-keyt\, verb:
1. To form a fork; branch.
My sad little Dwarf Alberta Spruce
1. Forked; branching.
During the summer months, I can often be found yelling at the TV to put a furcate in the pitcher because he's done. 

spruce \sproos\, verb:
1. To make neat or dapper (often followed by up).
2. To make oneself spruce (usually followed by up).
1. Trim in dress or appearance; neat; smart; dapper.
I don't know why Dictionary.com missed this one.  Everyone knows a spruce is a tree. 

cordate \KAWR-deyt\, adjective:
1. Heart-shaped.
2. (Of leaves) heart-shaped, with the attachment at the notched end.
There's a cordate-shaped hole in my chest that only my love can fill.

burled \burld\, adjective:
Having small knots that produce a distorted grain in wood.
I was cruising along with these sentences pretty nicely until I ran into this burled word which threw me off course. 

pied \pahyd\, adjective:
1. Having patches of two or more colors, as various birds and other animals.
2. Wearing pied clothing.
I had no idea this is what pied meant.  I've never heard it used apart from pied piper.  I do have a pied tulip growing in my yard today. I just didn't know it was pied. 

viscid \VIS-id\, adjective:
1. Having a glutinous consistency; sticky; adhesive.
2. Botany. Covered by a sticky substance.
I've been reading Winnie-the-Pooh to my daughter lately.  She often wonders how Pooh can put his head in a jar of honey and then go out and talk with his friends without taking a bath first.  I think she's got a point.  His fur would be quite viscid after doing that.  


  1. It is always fun to learn new words or see words rarely used. I enjoy your humorous look at words too. I just realized since I could not access your blog through Blotanical that you needed to be on my side bar at GWGT. Every time Blotanical acts up, I find blogs needing to be added so I can keep in touch.

    1. Donna, I've had that experience too. I love Blotanical for the opportunity to discover blogs that it provides. But I would love it more if they could invest some time in making it work right and work consistently. The "Picks" system is sometimes so full of bizarre technical problems that I stop using it for weeks at a time.

  2. Chad, Thanks to you, I'm now getting "word of the day" on my email every day and have become totally addicted. Every now and then, they'll have a run of words that I already know, which is kind of a letdown, but I love learning the new ones. -Jean

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