of or relating to marshes.
Paludal “of or relating to marshes” is based on Latin palūs (stem palūd-) “swamp, marsh,” plus the adjectival suffix -al. Palūs has one of several possible origins, inspiring significant debate among linguists. One common hypothesis is that palūs originally meant “submerged, filled (with water)” and derives from an Indo-European root meaning “to fill; many,” which would make it related to Latin plēnus “full” (as in plenty) and plēre “to fill” (as in complete) as well as cognate to English fill because of Grimm’s law; learn more from the recent Words of the Day pruinose and cordiform. Alternatively, palūs could be connected to terms related to movement of water, from Latin pluere “to rain” (compare French pleuvoir and Spanish llover) and Latin plōrāre “to weep” (compare French pleurer and Spanish llorar) to English fleet, float, flood, flotsam, and flow. Paludal was first recorded in English in the 1810s.
A church, an ancient heap of flints, rises up, cavernous, through mist and marshes. The “Cathedral of the Marshes,” they call it. This is Blythburgh on England’s windswept Suffolk coast. The landscape here is oppressive, bleak. And what man once made is quickly being lost to nature: sea erodes land …. Victorian antiquaries restored the place to something of its former glory. But today, few come to worship in Blythburgh’s paludal “cathedral.”
The land we were standing on was a project technically known as BA-39 …. BA-39 had proved, not that further proof was really necessary, what enough pipes and pumps and diesel fuel can accomplish. Nearly a million cubic yards of sediment had made the five-mile journey, resulting in the creation—or, to be more accurate, the re-creation—of a hundred and eighty-six paludal acres. Here were all the benefits of flooding without the messy side effects…
anoxia, or depletion of oxygen, in a body of water, along with a high level of hydrogen sulfide, a condition toxic to aquatic organisms.
Euxinia “anoxia in a body of water” is the namesake of the Latin term Pontus Euxīnus “the Black Sea,” where euxinia is often found in the deeper water. The Latin name is adapted from Ancient Greek Pontos Euxeînos, literally “hospitable sea,” but the story does not end there. It appears that the euxeînos portion, meaning “hospitable” and composed of eu- “good” and xeînos “foreign” (a variant of xénos; compare English xeno-), was originally a euphemism for Pontos Axeînos “inhospitable sea.” Alternatively, the meaning of the axeînos element could be folk etymology, that is, incorrectly derived from an unrelated term; the name for the Black Sea in Avestan, an ancient Indo-European language of the Iranian plateau, contained the element axšaēna- “blue, dark,” and speakers of Ancient Greek could have misinterpreted this word as their own axeînos. Euxinia was first recorded in English in the early 1950s.
The result is that euxinia may be more widespread in the present-day oceans than previously thought …. The midwater oceanic oxygen minimum layers become especially important where they intersect the continental slope. The combination of suboxic overlying water and sulfide-producing sediments could result, in itself, in the development of extensive areas of oceanic euxinia. This does not seem to be happening at present, although it may have occurred in the past and, if the current global warming trends continue, may occur in the near future.
“After oxygen in the ocean was used up to decompose organic material, microbes started to ‘breathe’ sulfate and produced hydrogen sulfide, a gas that smells like rotten eggs and is poisonous to animals,” said UC Riverside Earth system modeler Dominik Hülse. As ocean photosynthesizers—the microbes and plants that form the base of the food chain—rotted, other microbes quickly consumed the oxygen and left little of it for larger organisms. In the absence of oxygen, microbes consumed sulfate then expelled toxic, reeking hydrogen sulfide, or H2S, creating an even more extreme condition called euxinia.
a highly elastic solid substance, light cream or dark amber in color, polymerized by the drying and coagulation of the latex or milky juice of rubber trees and plants.
Caoutchouc “rubber” is a borrowing from French, which adapted the term from obsolete Spanish cauchuc (modern caucho), and from here is where the history becomes obscure. Because the Indigenous languages of the Americas have overall not received enough documentation and analysis, linguists assign caoutchouc to multiple possible languages, and there is substantial disagreement among sources. One proposal is that caoutchouc derives from Tupi, which we learned about from the recent Word of the Day maringouin. Another possibility is an origin in Carib, a language of the Cariban family with several thousand speakers in northern coastal South America. Some reputable sources claim a derivation from Quechua, which we learned about from the recent Word of the Day pampero, but other sources eliminate that connection outright. Perhaps the only way to find the true, incontrovertible origin of caoutchouc is to support research in Indigenous languages, especially because 2022 marks the beginning of the UNESCO Indigenous Languages Decade. What we do know is that caoutchouc was first recorded circa 1770s.
Rubber was not exactly new. It had long been known to [Indigenous] South Americans …. Some rubber made its way to Europe, but mostly as a curiosity. In the 1700s, a French explorer brought the name “caoutchouc” from a local language .… The scientist Joseph Priestley bestowed its common name when he noticed it rubbed pencil marks off paper.
At five o’clock on the evening of the 10th of August they put into the island of Cocos. They there passed a “seringal.” This name is applied to a caoutchouc plantation, the caoutchouc being extracted from the “seringueira” tree …. It is said that, by negligence or bad management, the number of these trees is decreasing in the basin of the Amazon, but the forests of seringueira trees are still very considerable on the banks of the Madeira, Purus, and other tributaries.
Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox