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A.Word.A.Day--indehiscent

Pronunciation RealAudio

This week's theme: words from the plant kingdom.

indehiscent (in-di-HIS-uhnt) adjective

Not bursting open at maturity.

[When a peapod is ripe after a long wait and bursts open, it's yawning, etymologically speaking. The term indehiscent 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.]

See more usage examples of indehiscent in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

-Anu Garg garg AT wordsmith.org

"Garrison Keillor: 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 dehisce." Carol Stocker; Rediscovering Rhubarb; Boston Globe; May 16, 1996.

X-Bonus

The most certain test by which we can judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities. -Lord Acton (John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton), historian (1834-1902)

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