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This week's theme: Verbs
dehisce (di-HIS) verb intr.
1. To burst open, as the pod of a plant.
[When a peapod is ripe after a long wait and bursts open, it's yawning, etymologically speaking. The term dehisce comes from Latin dehiscere (to split open), from hiscere (to gape, yawn), from Latin hiare (to yawn). Another term that derives from the same root is hiatus.]
Rhubarb is a vegetable, no matter what the government says: a member
of the buckwheat family of herbaceous plants including buckwheat, dock
and smartweed, which are characterized by having swollen joints, simple
leaves, small petalless flowers and small, dry, indehiscent fruit.
Indehiscent means 'not dehiscent,' not opening at maturity to release
the seed. So "indehiscent" means 'hard, dry, holding onto the seed,'
which actually describes Norwegians quite well. Most Norwegians
consider dehiscence to be indecent. They hold the seed in. But rhubarb
pie comes along in the spring, when we're half crazed from five months
of winter -- it's the first fresh vegetable we get, and it makes us
I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork. -Peter De Vries, editor, novelist (1910-1993)
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