one of the stiff, bristly hairs growing about the mouth of certain animals, as a whisker of a cat.
Vibrissa, “one of the stiff hairs growing about the mouth of an animal, such as a cat’s whisker,” is restricted pretty much to (human) anatomy, ornithology, and zoology. Vibrissa is the singular of the Late Latin plural noun vibrissae, a word that occurs only once, in a work by Sextus Pompeius Festus, a Roman grammarian and lexicographer who flourished in the late 2nd century a.d. Festus defines vibrissae as “the nose hairs of a human being, so called because when they are pulled out, the head shakes (caput vibrātur)” (vibrissae does in fact derive from the Latin verb vibrāre “to shake”). This “human” sense is the original meaning in English in the late 17th century, but it is no longer common; the more general zoological and ornithological meaning arose in the first half of the 19th century. The singular form vibrissa first appears in English in the first quarter of the 19th century.
I stroked his splendid vibrissae, the stiff, sensitive whiskers that a walrus uses to search for bivalves through the seabed’s dark murk, and that feel like slender tubes of bamboo.
Whiskers – technically called vibrissae in mammals – are an important part of my cats’ sensory arrays. When Margarita abruptly tears across the apartment for reasons I can only speculate about, her whiskers can tell her if she’s cutting to[o] close to a wall so that she doesn’t run headlong into the doorway.
commonly regarded as such; reputed; supposed.
Putative, “supposed, so called, commonly regarded,” ultimately comes from Late Latin putātīvus “considered, reckoned, presumptive,” a derivative of the Latin verb putāre “to think, consider,” originally a farming or country word meaning “to trim, prune (trees), scour or clean (wool); purify, refine (gold).” In Latin putāre is not much used in its original senses, but it is very common in its developed senses, “to go over in the mind, ponder; to go over in words, discuss; estimate, deem, consider.” Putative entered English in the 15th century.
The putative black hole would have to be feeding at one-millionth of its potential rate if it were there at all, Dr. Gultekin said.
Jules had to remember: Oh right, Ibsen, the putative reason Ash had gone to Oslo. Isben’s Ghosts.
verb (used with object)
to be worthwhile to, as for personal profit or advantage.
Behoove, also spelled behove in British English, nowadays is an impersonal verb meaning “it is necessary or proper (for someone to do something).” Behoove comes from Middle English bihoven “to need, be constrained; to be needed or required.” Bihofen, already mostly used as an impersonal verb in Middle English, comes from Old English behōfian, bihōfian “to need, require,” used both personally and impersonally. Behoove entered English before the end of the 9th century.
The current pandemic, which has curtailed normal interaction, throws into dramatic relief the central importance of teaching not only for our students’ learning, but also for their overall well-being. It behooves us all, after COVID-19, to build a more resilient system that includes rewards and support that encourage collaboration toward our common educational goal.
In this troll-saturated context, it’s hard to care about street-level trolls and their movie boycotts. In fact, it would probably behoove us to stop caring about “trolls” at all.