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Word of the day

flokati

[ floh-kah-tee ] [ floʊˈkɑ ti ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

noun

a thick, woolen rug with a shaggy pile, originally handwoven in Greece.

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More about flokati

Flokati “a thick, woolen rug with a shaggy pile” is a loanword from modern Greek and is also transliterated more traditionally as phlokátē. The differences in transliteration reflect two sound changes between Ancient Greek and modern Greek: ancient ph (“puh” with a puff of air) became modern f, and ancient ē (long “eh”) became modern i (“ee”). Flokati comes—by way of Balkan Romani, dialectal Italian, or Vulgar Latin—from Latin floccus “tuft of wool.” English inherits flock in the sense “a lock or tuft of wool, hair, or cotton” from Latin floccus, while flock in the sense “a number of animals herded together” is of Old English origin. Flokati was first recorded in English in the late 1960s.

how is flokati used?

And the mustard seed and poppies sprouted as soft and thick as a flokati. This bounty didn’t surprise Dr. Silvertown. “You will get poppy plants coming up in fields that haven’t been propagated for decades,” he said.

Michael Tortorello, “Seeds Straight From Your Fridge," New York Times, February 23, 2011

When it comes to decorating, the very best way to make a white space homey and comfortable is with texture and natural tones. Pile up a sofa with linen or velvet cushions, place a fluffy flokati or Moroccan rug on the floor and toss a nubbly, wooly throw atop a bed or armchair.

Beth Hitchcock, “Ask a design expert: I love white rooms but am afraid they’ll feel cold or bland, any tips?” Globe and Mail, February 5, 2020
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Word of the day

ogham

[ og-uhm, aw-guhm ] [ ˈɒg əm, ˈɔ gəm ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

noun

an alphabetic script used originally for inscriptions in an archaic form of Irish, from about the 5th to the 10th centuries.

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More about ogham

Ogham “an alphabetic script used for inscriptions in archaic Irish” is a loanword from Irish Gaelic, but the history of this word becomes murkier and murkier the farther back in time we go. A popular hypothesis is that ogham comes from Ogma, the name of a Celtic god who created the alphabet—that is, according to some legends. An alternative is that ogham derives from an ancient Irish word meaning “point,” as in the tip of a weapon, in reference to how ogham letters were inscribed on stone. The Irish Gaelic language today, as it has since the demise of ogham 1000 years ago, uses the Roman alphabet. Ogham was first recorded in English in the 1620s.

how is ogham used?

The script used in recording this early Irish is the unusual alphabetic system called Ogham .… [M]ost of its characters consist of slashing lines, longer and shorter (notches being used at times for vowel characters), giving the impression that it was originally designed to be “written” by means of an ax or some similar sharp instrument, with wood serving as a medium.

Roger D. Woodward, “Introduction,” The Ancient Languages of Europe, 2008

Ogham is an ancient lettering system that uses patterns of parallel and crossed lines. “It is specifically Irish with some late use in Scotland, but even in Wales the ogham inscriptions are all in Irish,” Prof [Werner] Nahm says. “They started in the late fourth century. You find them in various places, on building materials and in subterranean structures.”

Dick Ahlstrom, “Old Irish colonies marked in stone,” Irish Times, June 26, 2008
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Word of the day

phantasmagoric

[ fan-taz-muh-gawr-ik, -gor- ] [ fænˌtæz məˈgɔr ɪk, -ˈgɒr- ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

adjective

having a fantastic or deceptive appearance, as something in a dream or created by the imagination.

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More about phantasmagoric

Phantasmagoric “having a fantastic appearance” is a compound of two elements. The first is phantasm “apparition, fantasy,” from Ancient Greek phántasma “image, vision.” This, in turn, comes from the verb phaínein “to bring to light, cause to appear,” which is the source of many fant- and phant- words in English, from fantastic and fantasy to hierophant and phantom. The second element in phantasmagoric is likely to be either from Ancient Greek agorá “assembly, gathering” (as in agoraphobia) or its derivative allēgoría “figurative language” (as in allegory). Phantasmagoric was first recorded in English in the early 1810s.

how is phantasmagoric used?

When you take a tour through the main street, you will find bonfires at every step. They are built with branches collected by villagers a few days earlier in the forest around the village. The street lighting is dimmed to accentuate the almost phantasmagoric atmosphere around you.

Sergio Peréz, “Riding through flames and fury,” Reuters, February 1, 2013
[H]e saw himself surrounded by an endless succession of the ghastly forms which belong to the superstition of the Norman, or arise in the guilty slumbers of the monk. The phantasmagoric effect was vastly heightened by the artificial introduction of a strong continual current of wind behind the draperies—giving a hideous and uneasy animation to the whole.

Edgar Allan Poe, “Ligeia,” American Museum, 1838
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