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A.Word.A.Day--crinite

Pronunciation RealAudio

crinite (KRY-nyt) adjective

Hairy.

[From Latin crinitus, from crinis (hair). Ultimately from Indo-European root sker- (to turn or bend) that's also the fount of other words such as curve, crest, arrange, shrink, crow, and crisp.]

"Clad in worn jeans with a matching shirt, construction boots and a straw cowboy hat, the crinite foreman ambulated about as he showed how adobe blocks were made." Thom Tansey; In Search of Lost Civilizations; Rainbow Books; 2000.

Why is a hairless person called bald? Because his head is balled, etymologically speaking. The ball in balled in this case refers to a white patch (as in bald eagle). People have been resorting to all sorts of tricks -- even spray-painting their heads black -- as a fix to the problem.

Next time you decide to comb-over to hide that white patch, know that you're using a patented technique. US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded a patent for comb-over in 1975 though the patent has now expired.

While we can't help restore that lost hair, we can offer words to describe the phenomenon. This is going to be a hairy -- and smooth -- week. This week's theme: hair today, gone tomorrow.

-Anu Garg garg AT wordsmith.org

X-Bonus

Those who insist on the dignity of their office show they have not deserved it. -Baltasar Gracian, philosopher and writer (1601-1658)

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