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[ riz-er ] [ ˈrɪz ər ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used with object)

to dry or cure meat, fish, etc., especially haddock in the sun.

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More about rizzar

Rizzar, “to dry meat in the sun,” is of uncertain origin but appears to come from obsolete French ressoré “sun-dried.” From here, the trail grows even colder, though there are two potential routes to the true origin of rizzar. One proposal is that ressoré comes from saurer (earlier sorer) “to smoke, to dry with smoke,” from the adjective saur “salted and smoked, dried,” which appears to be a relative of English sear and sere; see the recent Word of the Day ratoon for more. Another proposal links ressoré to essorer “to dry in the air,” itself ultimately thought to come from Latin ex “out of, from” combined with aura “breath (of air), breeze.” Rizzar was first recorded in English at the turn of the 19th century.

how is rizzar used?

Hang [a medium sized cod] up to drain (preferably in the open air) for four or five days until quite dry, when it may be rizzared like a haddock …, or it may be boiled and served with egg sauce.

S. Beaty-Pownall, The "Queen" Cookery Books, series VIII: Breakfast and lunch dishes, 1904

Among the most delicate of breakfast-dishes, when in season, are the ‘rizzared’ whitings or small haddocks. Rizzaring a haddock means simply cleaning it, slightly salting, and hanging it up to dry for a day or two.

edited by William and Robert Chambers, Chambers’s Information for the People, volume I, 1857
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[ oh-puh-les ] [ ˌoʊ pəˈlɛs ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used without object)

to exhibit a play of colors like that of the iridescent gem opal.

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More about opalesce

Opalesce, “to exhibit colors like that of an opal,” is based on opal, the multicolored gemstone, and the verb-forming suffix -esce. Opal comes via Latin from Ancient Greek opállios “gem,” and while not certain, a common hypothesis is that opállios comes from Sanskrit upala- “stone, precious stone.” As we learned from the recent Words of the Day evanesce, rufescent, and violescent, the element -esce (as well as its noun and adjective counterparts -escence and -escent) derives from the inceptive infix -sc-, which roughly translates to “become, begin to be” in Latin. Opalesce was first recorded in English in the 1810s. Opal and tourmaline are two birthstones associated with the month of October. Find out more about the birthstones that make each month sparkle.

how is opalesce used?

Opalesce is a gauzy word to describe what the sky is doing. From the picture window Maas follows winter colors: whites, slates, steely skies, and yellows.

Christine Schutt, “Family Man,” Pure Hollywood and Other Stories, 2018

In front of me stood a man in something fluffy like fur, which, when touched by light, opalesced like metal.

Stanislaw Lem, Return from the Stars, 1961
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⚛️ Today's Word was chosen in partnership with the Museum of Science as the Science Word Of The Week! ⚛️


[ fron-des-uhns ] [ frɒnˈdɛs əns ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


leafage; foliage.

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Why the Museum of Science chose frondescence

Fall is upon us, which means cooler temperatures and a change in the color of frondescence from green to brilliant yellows, oranges, and reds. It had us wondering, what causes these beautiful Fall colors? To find out, watch this video about frondescence from science communicator, Alex Dainis, PhD.

More about frondescence

Frondescence comes from a Latin verb meaning “to become leafy, put forth leaves,” which is based on the word for “branch, bough” that also gives us frond. An easily confused word is the Latin word frōns, meaning “forehead,” which is the source of front, frontage, and frontal. Frondescence was first recorded in English circa 1840.

When autumn sets in and the leaves shift colors, a rainbow of frondescence can be seen far and wide.

Leaves already contain the yellow and orange pigments we see emerge in Fall. They are just hidden most of the year by the overwhelming green of chlorophyll. Learn more fun facts at the Museum of Science.

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