I get a daily email that contains an unusual word and its origins and history. Many of these words are sufficiently uncommon that you’d have to give considerable thought to devising a conversation into which you could insert one, and even with preparation, it would probably call attention to itself.
One of the words this week was nidicolous, an adjective with two definitions: 1. Remaining with the parents for a long time after birth,* or 2. Living in the home of another species.
Being suspicious of vocabulary wielded as a weapon, I don’t favor swinging ostentatious words around in order to intimidate or flaunt one’s education. Having said that, I do love words: playing with them is entertaining, and using one that perfectly suits the situation can be very satisfying. I continue to enjoy them and collect them.
I can’t predict whether I will be able to hang onto either definition of nidicolous until such time as I want to express a thought where it would be the perfect fit. But that isn’t actually the focus of my interest in this case. What caught and held my attention was the etymology of the word.
Beyond the immediate roots, the Latin nidi- (nest) + -colous (inhabiting), the entry says this:
Indo-European root sed- (to sit), which is also the source of nest, sit, chair, saddle, assess, sediment, soot, cathedral, and tetrahedron.
Language is its own strange land–otherwise, how would you ever have chair, soot, cathedral and tetrahedron as cousins?
*If you or people you know happen to have adult children living at home, there’s an easy place to try this one out. Depending on how you feel about that circumstance, you might write up a little poem of some kind, taking advantage of the convenient way that nidicolous rhymes with ridiculous.
[Images: Wikpedia, wordle.net, Pixabay, mychimney.com]