Word of the Day: Batholith

I love this word. The fact that it contains two voiceless dental fricatives [th] and automatically gives me a lisp amuses me every time I say it.

Obviously I have plenty of opportunity to say batholith* (tee hee) as I often talk about:

“a large body of intrusive igneous/plutonic rock believed to have crystallized at a considerable depth below the earth’s surface”. (dictionary.com)

The reason I even know of this word was because of a joyous pastime at my last place of work: the Word of the Day Competition.

This went on for a period of about 6 months between a colleague and I. We each had a copy of a really old dictionary (I’ll update with the reference if I still have it), one that quite plainly contained no neologisms. There was definitely no blogging, flash mobbing or the verb ‘to google’ in this dictionary.

This made it more fun though. We could flick through a chosen letter of the day or do a random page selection and be inundated with weird and wonderful words.

We had no rhyme or reason to our choices. They could be based on sound, shape, or meaning.

Some Word of the Day or X-Factor for words (just to give it some street cred with modern blog readers) Contestants:

  • Wavelet: a small wave. A contender based solely on cuteness.
  • Grinagog: a person with a big, foolish grin. A contender based on comedy value.
  • Escadrille: a unit of a European air command containing usually six airplanes. A contender because in the mad old dictionary it was described as a ‘gang’ of airplanes and because it sounds like a cloth sandal.

We did, yes, end up with a Word of the Year.

And amazingly, didn’t lose our jobs.

*My next holiday will be Sierra Nevada so I can exclaim “wow, would you look at the size of that batholith!” at opportune moments.


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