We’re back moving forward with page 51 of The New York Times Everyday Reader’s Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, and Mispronounced Words: Revised Edition! There wasn’t a lot to choose from, but I do like today’s word: choli.
Three Big Roots
I knew almost every word on page 51. It shows the power of knowing roots. The first of this was chloro–. It comes from the Greek word for green, khlōros. And so you get words like “chlorophyll,” which I’m sure you know means “the green coloring substance of plants and leaves associated with the production of carbohydrates by photosynthesis.” Although I bet you would have described it differently. More like, “Well, it’s the stuff, uh, that makes, you know, plants green.” At least that’s what I would have said.
Next were the chore– words. These are based on the Greek word khoreia, which means “dancing in unison” and is derived from the earlier Greek word khoros, which means “chorus.” And so we get words like “choreography,” which again, I expect you know is “the art of composing and arranging techniques, movements, etc, for dances, especially ballet.”
Finally, we have the Christo– words, which of course are words about Jesus. The only one that was even vaguely new to me was “Christophany.” It is “an appearance of Christ on Earth after the time of his resurrection.” So you know, those couple of times right after he died that were reported by no one outside a tiny cult. Not that I’m making any judgments! It could absolutely have happened — just like there might be a china teapot orbiting the Sun between Earth and Mars. Who am I to say?
The other words were pretty specialized. There was “chitin” for example. It is “a horny, organic substance forming part of the outer integument of some insects and crustaceans.” See: even after reading the definition, I don’t really know what it is.
I suffer from nausea a lot. So I was interested to see the word “chlorpromazine.” According to the dictionary, it is “a drug used to depress the central nervous system and prevent nausea and vomiting.” But when I checked online, Google told me it was an antipsychotic. Maybe I could use that too!
I’ll leave you with a word that I feel like I ought to have known: “choragus.” It is “one who officiates at an entertainment, festival, etc.” It appears to derive from the leader of a Greek chorus, which may explain why I don’t know it. Ancient Greek theater does have its interests, but I’m not that into it.
Even though page 51 didn’t offer many options, it did contain one that I liked. It is similar to yesterday’s word, but this time from the east: choli.