Monday, September 3, 2007

Word of the Day: Thalassic

Word of the Day: Thalassic (adjective)

Pronunciation: [thê-'læ-sik]

Definition: Pertaining to the sea; marine.

Usage: This is a euphonic onomatopoeic alternative to "marine." The
liquid [l] and hissing [s] give the word more semblance of sea sounds
than does "marine." The mind swoons at the thought of the illustrious
members of the thalass- word family: "When England ruled the seas, it
was a thalassocracy," "In college Mary is studying endangered
thalassians—sea turtles," and "It's cool to study thalassography by
walking along the seashore."

Suggested Usage: We may speak of thalassic smells or colors and the
thalassic civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea. Thalassic rocks
are those composed of sediments of the sea. We can dream thalassic
dreams until the occasion for a thalassic respite from work presents
itself. Wouldn't you much prefer a thalassic respite to shelling out
for a vacation at the shore?

Etymology: The adjective "thalassic" goes back to Greek thalassa
"sea." It was made memorable by Xenophon in his "Anabasis" as the cry
of the Greek mercenaries recruited by Cyrus the Younger to fight in
Persia. Upon return to their homeland, when they first saw the Black
Sea that would lead them to Greece, they shouted, "Thalassa,

Dr. Language

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