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[ os-kyuh-leyt ] [ ˈɒs kyəˌleɪt ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used with object)

to kiss.

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More about osculate

Osculate,  “to kiss,” comes from the Latin verb ōsculārī “to kiss,” which is based on the noun ōsculum “kiss” or, literally, “little mouth.” Ōsculum comprises ōs (stem ōr-) “mouth” and -culum, a diminutive suffix that we learned about last week from the Word of the Day canicular. Ōs is the source of oral and orifice but not of any word for “mouth” in modern Romance languages; the likely reason for this is confusion between ōs and the similar-sounding os (stem oss-) “bone,” which is the source of Italian/Portuguese osso and Spanish hueso. With os winning this phonetic battle, Latin bucca “cheek” eventually evolved into modern Romance words for “mouth,” such as French bouche, Italian bocca, and Portuguese and Spanish boca. Osculate was first recorded in English in the 1650s.

how is osculate used?

For those cultures that do osculate, however, kissing conveys additional hidden messages.

Chip Walter, “Affairs of the Lips,” Scientific American, October 1, 2012

Few things are more enjoyable than a good kiss, but I’d turn down any offer to osculate.

R.L.G., “Osculate me, Kate,” The Economist, July 16, 2010
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[ ter-ey-kwee-uhs, -ak-wee- ] [ tɛrˈeɪ kwi əs, -ˈæk wi- ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


consisting of land and water, as the earth.

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More about terraqueous

Terraqueous “consisting of land and water” is a compound of Latin terra “land” and English aqueous “watery,” which is based on Latin aqua “water.” As we learned from the recent Words of the Day terrene and torrid, terra once referred specifically to dry land, and the term ultimately won out over tellūs (compare the recent Word of the Day telluric) in evolving into the words for “land” in modern Romance languages, such as French terre, Romanian țară, and Spanish tierra. In contrast, aqua did not have to compete with any synonyms in Latin, and it gave rise to French eau, Italian acqua, Romanian apă, and Spanish agua. Terraqueous was first recorded in English in the 1650s.

how is terraqueous used?

We were bounded only by the Earth, and the ocean, and the sky. The open road still softly calls. Our little terraqueous globe is the madhouse of those hundred thousand millions of worlds. We, who cannot even put our own planetary home in order, riven with rivalries and hatreds; are we to venture out into space?

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, 1994

In his fantastical narrative The Man in the Moon (1638), the author and divine Francis Godwin has his hero fly to the moon in a machine harnessed to a flock of wild swans. As he ascends into space, the world’s landmasses diminish, not just in size but in significance .… Godwin grasped that from space Earth would look terraqueous, and far more aqua than terra.

Joe Moran, “Earthrise: the story behind our planet's most famous photo,” The Guardian, December 22, 2018
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[ an-suh ] [ ˈæn sə ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


either of the apparent extremities of the rings of Saturn or of other planets, especially when viewed from the earth or from spacecraft under certain conditions, when they look like two handles.

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More about ansa

Ansa, “a handle-shaped region of Saturn’s rings,” is a borrowing of Latin ānsa “handle, loop, clamp.” As a regular Latin noun, the plural in Latin is ānsae, and the plural in English is ansae (sometimes stylized as ansæ). Descendants of ansa in modern Romance languages include anse in French as well as asa in both Portuguese and Spanish. Beyond Latin, ansa has few known relatives, but potential matches appear in various Indo-European languages, from Ancient Greek to Icelandic to Lithuanian. Ansa was first recorded in English in the early 15th century.

how is ansa used?

[Saturn’s] edges (forming the ansæ as they are termed) do not disappear and reappear at the same time, and are not always of the same apparent extent. One ansa, indeed, is sometimes visible without the other, and most commonly it is the Eastern one that is missing.

George F. Chambers, The Story of the Solar System, 1895

A bright arc within Saturn’s faint G ring holds a tiny gift. A small moonlet is just visible as a short streak near the ansa of the G ring arc in the top of two versions of the same image. The second (bottom) version of the image has been brightened to enhance the visibility of the G ring.

“Petite Moon,” NASA Science, May 29, 2009
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