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[ faw-nuh ] [ ˈfɔ nə ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


the animals of a given region or period considered as a whole.

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More about fauna

Fauna “the animals of a given region as a whole” is an example of a collective noun, a noun that typically appears as singular but refers to a group of persons or objects. Common collective nouns in English also include couple, government, jury, population, and team, all of which refer to groups of people even when the nouns themselves are singular. Unlike mass nouns such as electricity, furniture, and sadness, collective nouns can use the indefinite article a (or an) and numbers; we may say a team or two couples but not an electricity or two furnitures. Fauna is the namesake of the rural Roman goddess Fauna, the feminine counterpart of the forest god Faunus. These two Latin names may come from the verb favēre “to favor,” which would make them potential relatives of the recent Words of the Day Faustian and foehn. Fauna was first recorded in English circa 1770.

how is fauna used?

No complex animals prowled the seas of the Ediacaran Period. Instead, the depths held microbial mats and strange, frond-like creatures that resembled nothing alive today. Paleontologists have suggested that this was a sort of Garden of Eden, a simple ecosystem wiped away by the more vibrant fauna of the following Cambrian Period.

Asher Elbein, “600 Million Years Ago, the First Scavengers Lurked in Dark Ocean Gardens,” The New York Times, November 30, 2018

Bacteria are typically a few millionths of a metre long. To them, a human mouth is an entire world. The tongue, teeth, and gums are all very different habitats, each with their own fauna. There are even differences between the microbes below and above the gum line of a single tooth.

Ed Yong, “The Forest In Your Mouth,” National Geographic, January 25, 2016
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[ ahn-dahn-tey ] [ ɑnˈdɑn teɪ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


moderately slow and even.

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More about andante

Andante “moderately slow and even” is a loanword from Italian, in which it literally means “walking” and is the present participle of the verb andare “to walk, go.” From here, the history becomes somewhat murky. Romance languages merged several roots in a process called suppletion to create their verbs meaning “to go”—similar to English with be (and am, are, was)—but what roots were merged remains a matter of debate. With andante, there are two proposals: a derivation from a lost Vulgar Latin verb such as ambitare “to go in circular motion” or an origin in the Gaulish root andā-, the latter of which is related to Latin passus “step.” Andante was first recorded in English circa 1740.

how is andante used?

The Haydn symphony is the one with the limpid little andante second movement, which some feel is insufficiently important for a Haydn slow movement, but which to my ear touches the ultimate in perennial simplicity and freshness.

Ken Winters, “Making beautiful music together,” The Globe and Mail, April 23, 2004

She lived among her own things like a visitor to a room kept “exactly as it was when.” She tiptoed, even when she went to draw a bath, nervous and andante. She stopped, fluttering and febrile, before every object in her house.

Djuna Barnes, Nightwood, 1936
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[ mi-nol-uh-jee ] [ mɪˈnɒl ə dʒi ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a record or account arranged in the order of a calendar.

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More about menology

Don’t be fooled! Menology is not a half-Greek term meaning “the study of men.” Instead, menology “a record or account arranged in the order of a calendar” comes from Late Greek mēnológion, from Ancient Greek ​​mḗn “month” and -lógion, a derivative of lógos “a word, saying, speech.” The word ​​mḗn is a distant relative of Latin mensis and English month, and all three come from the same root as English moon (and Monday) and menstrual “monthly.” Menology was first recorded in English circa 1605.

how is menology used?

The menologies form a small but distinct group of texts and follow a pattern broadly comparable to Hesiod’s Works and Days, though with much heavier cultic content. For each month, information is given relating to astronomical, religious, social, and other themes such as the expected appearance of a particular migratory bird.

Alasdair Livingstone, “Babylonian Hemerologies and Menologies,” Books of Fate and Popular Culture in Early China, 2017

[M]enologies were, in general, meant to deal with every aspect of daily life, and their content was intended for the common people. Time had its own magic in Mesopotamia, with some texts only listing favorable and unfavorable days.

Marvin Schreiber, “Egalkura and Late Astrology,” Patients and Performative Identities, 2020
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