Friday, July 9, 2010

Word of the Day 7/9/2010

Struthious (adjective): of or relating to the ostriches and related birds

Example Sentence:"The law is not so struthious as to compel a judge … to divorce himself or herself from common sense or to ignore what is perfectly obvious." (Hon. Bruce M. Selya, U.S. v. Sklar, U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit, 1990)

Did you know?: "Struthious" can be scientific and literal, or it can be figurative with the meaning "ostrich-like," as in our example sentence. The extended use suggests a tendency to bury one’s head in the sand like an ostrich. But do ostriches really do this? No -- the bird’s habit of lying down and flattening its neck and head against the ground to escape detection gave rise to the misconception. The word "struthious" has been fully visible in English since the 18th century. "Ostrich" is much older. Anglo-French speakers created "ostriz" from Vulgar Latin "avis struthio" ("ostrich bird"); Middle English speakers made it "ostrich" in the 13th century. Scientists seeking a genus word for ostriches turned back to Latin, choosing "struthio."

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

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