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origami (or-i-GAH-mee) noun

1. The art or process, originating in Japan, of folding paper into shapes representing flowers and birds, for example.

2. A decorative object made by folding paper.

[Japanese : ori, to fold + kami, paper.]

"During a `Global Harmony' observance on Aug. 9 at St.Catherine's, participants will make a chain of origami cranes, the symbol of healing, to send to Nagasaki's Peace Park." Chuck Haga, Nagasaki remember war, celebrate peace, Star Tribune, 9 Jul 1995.

Remember when you were little and made paper planes from your notebook sheets and flew them when the teacher wasn't looking (could you land it on her table? :-) Or the torrential rains that created an impromptu stream in front of the house where you floated boats folded from old envelopes? You probably didn't know at the time but you were practicing origami--the Japanese art of papercraft by which you can make almost any animal (besides other things) if you fold paper just the right way. Another variation on origami is origamic architecture (OA) which you probably have seen in greeting cards and pop-up books. OA is the amazing feat of precision cutting, folding, and sculpting of paper into fabulous constructions. Try making some yourself. They are lots of fun! Here is a place to get you started: https://members.aol.com/kselena/OA/oamainpg.html

It may sound like a word related to marriage but as you have may have noticed, origami really has nothing to do with matrimony. Still, try to practice safe origami--don't run with scissors. Look for more loanwords (words we borrow from other languages but never return) from Japanese this week. -Anu


You can't say civilization isn't advancing, in every war they kill you in a new way. -Will Rogers, American humorist (1879-1935)

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