a mound or hill in which fairies live.
Sídh “a mound or hill in which fairies live” is a borrowing from Irish Gaelic, from Old Irish síd, of the same meaning. The ultimate source of sídh is the Proto-Indo-European root sed- “to sit,” with derivations including English sit, set, and saddle as well as Latin sedēre “to sit” (compare sedentary and sediment). Though sídh literally refers to fairy mounds, it also frequently appears in reference to fairies themselves. This process is called metonymy (from meta- “beyond” and -onym “name”), in which a word for one thing is used figuratively to refer to a related concept or entity. Just as sídh can refer figuratively to fairies as well as literally to their home, “the White House” can refer figuratively to the president of the United States as well as literally to the building located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Sídh was first recorded in English in the 1790s.
While divine beings could be associated with either [hills or bodies of water] in both Ireland and Wales, the Irish tended to prefer the sidh mounds in their tales while the Welsh stories usually placed the dwellings of deities on islands or even under water. It is possible that the Lady of the Lake was the Welsh equivalent of the Lady of the Sidh.
Newgrange is Ireland’s most famous prehistoric site. As with most of the passage tombs in Ireland, archeologists believe that it was built around 3200 B.C., which means that Newgrange predates the construction of Stonehenge in England and the Pyramids of Egypt …. The Celtic myth says that Newgrange is a fairy mound or a sidh. A group of ancient people, the Tuatha Dé Danann, or “people of the goddess Danu,” dwelled there.
covered with a frostlike bloom or powdery secretion, as a plant surface.
Pruinose “covered with a frostlike bloom or powdery secretion” comes from Latin pruīnōsus “frosty,” from pruīna “frost” and the adjectival suffix -ōsus “full of, consisting of.” Pruīna and frost are in fact distantly related; just as we learned from the recent Word of the Day corvine that Latin c often corresponds to English h (compare cor/heart and caput/head), Latin p often corresponds to English f. This pattern can also be seen in pairs such as Latin pater and English father, Latin paucus and English few, Latin pēs and English foot, and English farrow “litter of pigs” and Latin porcus “pig.” Pruinose was first recorded in English in the 1820s.
Native to Mexico, ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense) are evergreen plants with light blue to gray, pink foliage that give it a “ghostly” appearance due to a powdery coating known as pruinose that covers the plant’s leaves.
The guidebooks are full of other gorgeous words to describe these creatures with the biplane wings. Teneral bugs are those that recently emerged from their shed skins, known as exuviae, and must rest undisturbed while their shells harden. Pruinose describes the blue or white powder that covers the insects as they age.
a framework of doctrines, ideas, beliefs, or the like, constructed around a person or object, endowing the person or object with enhanced value or profound meaning.
Mystique “a framework of ideas endowing a person with profound meaning” is a borrowing from French and is cognate to English mystic. Both mystic and mystique derive by way of Latin from Ancient Greek mýstēs “initiate into the mysteries”; mysteries, in this context, are sacred rites and customs only known to a small, select group of people—much like how only one person or a few people know the facts behind a mystery. Mýstēs comes from the verb myeîn “to initiate, teach,” from the similarly spelled verb mýein “to close (the lips or eyes).” The implication here is that, when new initiates are exposed to the mysteries, they will stay close-lipped about what they see. Mystique was first recorded in English in the early 1890s.
It’s clear why legendary Scottish warrior Scáthach chose this tucked-away-from-the-world spot to found her impenetrable college of martial combat. Promising students would come from far and wide to train in warfare and sorcery here, and to learn in secret from perhaps the greatest fighter the Celtic realms have ever known. But what ultimately happened to the powerful warrior queen Scáthach remains a mystery; the lack of any known tomb only adds to her mystique. Since the Middle Ages, legend has it that she’ll return when the world needs her most.
Timbuktu conjures up images of long camel caravans out on the edge of the sand-strewn Sahara—a remoteness so legendary that the ancient city is still a byword for the end of the earth …. Even the spelling of the place has added to the mystique. It appeared as “Tenbuch” in the Catalan Atlas (1375) and has since been variously rendered as “Thambet,” “Timbuctoo” and “Timbuktoo.” In official documents produced by the government of France, Mali’s former colonial master, it is often spelled “Tombouctou.”
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