Thursday, February 22, 2007

Portcullis: A New Vocabulary Word for Me

Photo credit: Kevin Lawver

I read this in Newsweek today about British Prime Minister Tony Blair: "Gone are the bright eyes and the portcullis smile." Portcullis smile?

I know two or three words. I could spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious when I was 7. I learned antidisestablishmentarianism later that year. I studied Latin for eight years. But I'd never heard the word portcullis used. The word breakdown was easy enough...but using it in a sentence was another. Now I'll use it three times today and it'll be added to my bag-o-tricks. *portcullis smile ensues*
Portcullis: Etymology: Middle English port colice, from Anglo-French porte coliz, literally, sliding door: a grating of iron hung over the gateway of a fortified place and lowered between grooves to prevent passage
Do you look up new words when you see them? I used to make this standard practice. I've slipped a bit. I need to get back in the habit. You never know when someone might ask you what they call that little indentation at the base of the neck.


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