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filemot (FIL-mot) noun, adjective

The color of a dead or faded leaf: dull brown or yellowish brown.

[From the corruption of the French term feuillemorte, from feuille (leaf) + morte (dead). Ultimately from Indo-European root bhel- (to thrive or bloom) that gave us flower, bleed, bless, foliage, blossom, and blade.]

"The walls were panelled; each panel was comparted like a modern office desk, and each compartment crowded with labelled folios all filemot with age and use." Lewis Wallace; Ben-Hur; Harper & Brothers; 1880.

Since this newsletter reaches almost all parts of the globe, you may be reading this on a day when there's a torrid sun or a gentle spring breeze. Perhaps you are forced indoors by a drenching monsoon or a frigid snowstorm. But in this part of the world we are celebrating autumn, the season of colors.

As the falling leaves form a feast for the eyes, it is a perfect week to talk about colors. Let's consider some unusual words to describe oranges and browns, grays and blues, and other shades in between.

Interestingly, there's even a color named after the color of dead leaves!

-Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)


New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common. -John Locke, philosopher (1632-1704)

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