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clathrate

There’s something vaguely Celtic or mythic to the sound of this word. The /kl/ and the /θr/, with their voiceless-liquid combinations – one crisp, the other soft – are reminiscent of Tolkien’s elvish tongues. 385 more words

Word Tasting Notes

quad

Iva Cheung, walking through the quad at Simon Fraser University, asked herself why the open yards of universities are called quads. Yes, yes, of course it’s short for… 608 more words

Word Tasting Notes

kerfuffle

Oh boy, did Toronto have a big kerfuffle today. A flurry, a fluttering, kaboom, kerplop, kabibble, kerflop… anything other than a careful card shuffle. Between 1 and 2 in the afternoon: Mayor Rob Ford dropped out of the mayoralty race. 369 more words

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tome

I pick the book up, its age-softened cardboard covers sweating dust, its linen pages foxy and feathering. It takes two hands to hold it. I carry it to the table and release it; the sound when it hits is percussive, then resonant: “tome.” 406 more words

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staple

A staple item is an essential, something that holds your life together. Sort of like a staple holding sheets of paper together.

Thirty years ago, starting university, I bought a stapler and a box of staples. 775 more words

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ash

Where there’s ash, there’s been passion.

And may still be. Ash is evidence of burning; ash is dust of ecstasy, of transcendence of state. When you set the world on fire, you end with ashes; when the world sets you on fire, you end in ashes. 962 more words

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untrammelled

The United States’ Wilderness Act of 1964 seems to have been a great vector for this word, as it contains this statement, rather less dry than most legislation: 414 more words

Word Tasting Notes