Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
#137007 01/08/05 02:36 AM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,542
tsuwm Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel
OP Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,542
Just one word: plastic.

actually, the word unctuous came to mind today:

1a : fatty, oily
b : smooth and greasy in texture or appearance
2 : plastic <fine unctuous clay>
3 : full of unction (exagerated, assumed, or superficial earnestness of language or manner)
1996 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated


the second sense here, plastic, isn't something I recall seeing in use; but here's the second sense of plastic: capable of being molded or modeled: plastic clay. that ties in nicely with unctuous[2] without becoming circular.*

but here's a more interesting thing, I thought:
plastic has developed a sense of 'artificial', having a quality suggesting mass-produced plastic goods. and here we also have unctuous, with a sense of exagerated, assumed, or superficial earnestness.

Is this all just coincidental happenstance or is there something else going on here?

*defining A in terms of B, and then B in terms of A.


Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 555
M
addict
Offline
addict
M
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 555
Interesting connection, tsuwm! Have never seen plastic used as a synonym (of sorts) for unctuous before and, even now, the visual pictures of the two words don't quite gel. As regards, defining one in terms of the other; it seems to me that they do have a shared commonality: the property of "malleability". And so, in this sense, their definitions come together.


#137009 01/08/05 04:41 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,400
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,400
modelling clay certainly is unctuous. I don't normally associate clay with being unctuous, but immediately understood, (and could associate clay with both the word unctous and plastic!)--most mothers have once in their lifetime made the mistake of buying molding clay for children, --who leave it every where--and it leaves oily, permenent stains!

meaning 3, well, how can one use the word unctuous with out thinking of Uriah Heep, and i don't think of him as being 'assumed' or 'exagerated', but rather, ingratiating, false, and (i will accept)superficial earnestness of language or manner--definately 'plastic'. he attemped to mold himself into what ever he thought his company desired or needed: a fitting companion, a loyal employee, and so on.

plastic, in what i guess is the first sense (i haven't checked out merriman, but guess it is bakelite, etc, ) vies with plastic [?] the quality of being mold-able for me. I USE plastic most often to describe something, (a plastic toy) but in my minds eye is a liquid, being molded; a huge vat that spits out goo that is transformed into any number of things.(and these things ending their life on a conveyor belt heading into the vat!)

(where did i read, just today--about the man (Bakelike is an english 'version' of his german name).. he was attempting to make a durable varish for bowling ball alley's, and ended up with creating bakelite?) Aaaugh! senior moments are becoming the norm!

i think plasic became associated with artificial, because bakelite was used extensively to copy (quite successfully) materials like tortoise shell and ivory. by the 1930's, bakelite was fashioned into costume jewelry, --and no attempt was made to copy any known materials.. it was plastic pure and simple!

but the idea of plastic being artificial, and of unctuous being false, are similar.


#137010 01/08/05 02:14 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,385
P
veteran
Offline
veteran
P
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,385
defining A in terms of B, and then B in terms of A

What hand is to clay
"Plastic" is to "unctuous".

Great interplay. :)


#137011 01/13/05 01:44 AM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 11,613
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 11,613
Well, I was so excited when I first looked at this thread, because I was thinking that a friend had told me some time ago that plastic does exist naturally in the earth. After looking it up, I found that the friend had said polymers, not plastic. What is the difference, please?

Oh, and for the record, the clay that lies underneath our thin layer of topsoil is indeed greasy and nasty-looking, as I discovered one year whilst digging the tomato patch.

EDIT: I got to wondering where the word patch came from, and the best I could come up with is that nobody knows. A couple of dictionaries said it may have come from the French word for piece; another said maybe Old Italian. Ultralingua had the most detail, but offered yet another source: [ETYM: Old Eng. pacche; of uncertain origin, perh. for placche; cf. Prov. Eng. platch patch, LG. plakk, plakke.]

#137012 01/14/05 05:43 AM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,542
tsuwm Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel
OP Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,542
>the friend had said polymers, not plastic. What is the difference, please?

a question! a palpable question!!
without going into a lot of scientific flummadiddle, which no one wants to see, suffice it to say that plastics are a subset of polymers, which are formed by a chemical reaction in which two or more molecules combine to form larger molecules that contain repeating structures. polymers do occur naturally, but not plastics -- which are artificial. ain't the circularity grand?


#137013 01/14/05 05:52 AM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,542
tsuwm Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel
OP Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,542
regarding the origins of patch..

I'd surmise that all of that confusion stems from what James Murray and Co. found:

[ME. pacche, patche, of unascertained origin. If native, its OE. form would be *pcce.
Some have conjectured an earlier *platche, with subsequent loss of l, comparing mod.Sc. PLATCH, q.v., but for this there is no evidence. Ger. dial. patsche puddle, mire, mess, also instrument of striking, hand, patschen to splash, dabble, dash, clap, tap, suits the form but not the sense.]



#137014 01/14/05 02:43 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 11,613
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 11,613
plastics are a subset of polymers I thought they were related! Merci, and merci, tsuwm; nobody here is a patch on you.


#137015 01/14/05 09:54 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,385
P
veteran
Offline
veteran
P
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,385
Posted on behalf of Dr. Bill [wwh]:

Here is link to a very readable history
of plastics, suitable to post in tsuwm's 'plasticity'.


http://www.americanplasticscouncil.org/s_apc/sec.asp?CID=310&DID=920

When I was at Massachusetts Public Health Antitoxin
and Vaccine labs, we made a vaccine against several
common children's diseases. One ingredient had phenol
as antibacterial (to prevent bacteri from growing in it)
and another ingredient had formalin as antibacterial.
After the final product had been stored only a short
time, a brownish sediment was noticed, which was
on analysis Bakelite! The phenol and formalin had reacted
to form Bakelite!



#137016 01/15/05 11:50 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,385
P
veteran
Offline
veteran
P
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,385
From Dr. Bill [wwh] re Humpty Dumpty and use of words to do whatever we want. Isn't that 'plasticity'?

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

'You seem very clever at explaining words, Sir' said Alice. 'Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem called "Jabberwocky"?'

'Let's hear it,' said Humpty Dumpty. 'I can explain all the poems that ever were invented just yet.'

This sounded very hopeful, so Alice repeated the first verse:--

'Twas brilig, and the swithy toves,
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome rabes outgrabe.


http://sundials.org/about/humpty.htm

'And what does "outgrabe" mean?'

'Well, "outgrabing" is something between bellowing and whistling, with a kind of sneeze in the middle; however you'll hear it done, maybe - down in the wood yonder - and, when you've once heard it, you'll be quite content. Who's been repeating all that hard stuff to you?'



Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Jackie 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,910
Posts228,883
Members9,174
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
Teytonon, jgronk71, gronk1964, MiscPractice, Ladydusk
9,174 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 325 guests, and 2 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,542
wofahulicodoc 10,240
LukeJavan8 9,895
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2023 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5