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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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[ met-suh-loo-nuh ] [ ˌmɛt səˈlu nə ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a crescent-shaped, single- or double-bladed chopping knife, with a handle on each end or a connecting handle.

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More about mezzaluna

Mezzaluna, “a crescent-shaped chopping knife,” literally means “half-moon, crescent” in Italian and is a compound of mezza, feminine of mezzo “middle,” and luna “moon” (compare the recent Words of the Day lunisolar and perilune). Mezzo, which is also the source of the loanword mezzanine “the lowest balcony in a theater,” comes from Latin medius “middle,” which is a distant relative and synonym of English middle and Ancient Greek mésos. A common trend is for Latin -cae-, -di-, -te-, and similar combinations before vowels to become -zz- in Italian. Just as medius became mezzo, Latin Nīcaea “Nice” became Italian Nizza, puteus “(water) well” became pozzo, and statiō “standing-place” became stazzo “fold, pen.” Mezzaluna was first recorded in English in the early 1950s.

how is mezzaluna used?

The mezzaluna, with its half-moon-shaped blade and knobby handles at each end, possesses the simplicity of a tool like the hammer. Its design recalls an earlier time, before the food processor, and before home cooks had knife skills worthy of a restaurant kitchen.

Amanda Hesser, “A Half Moon That Brightens Kitchen Labors,” The New York Times, January 23, 2002

The curved blade design is modeled on a mezzaluna, … which has a much shallower curve and often (but not always) has two handles to make rocking it back and forth over the leaves a much less strenuous affair, taxing your strong arms instead of twisting one wrist in an unnatural fashion.

Charlie Sorrel, “Circular Chopping Knife Great for Herbs, Murder,” Wired, October 22, 2010
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