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Apr 19, 2023This week’s theme
This week’s words
Illustration: Karen Folsom #kgfolsart
A.Word.A.Daywith Anu Garg
1. A blue, bluish-green, or greenish-gray semi-precious stone.
2. A bluish-green color.
Named after Turkey. The gemstone was called turquoise because either it was discovered in Turkey or transported to Europe via Turkey. Earliest documented use: 1398.
Is it bluish-green or greenish-blue? Grue (green + blue) or bleen (blue + green)? Opine below or email us at email@example.com. Some languages solve this debate by using the same word for blue and green.
The bird turkey suffered the same fate as the gemstone turquoise. It was called turkey because Europeans believed it came from Turkey. No other animal has as confusing a name as this poor bird. In Turkish it’s called hindi and in Hindi it’s known as tarki. It’s also called peru and various other names.
Finally, Turkey is asking everyone to call them Türkiye (toor-ki-YAY), partly in an effort to disassociate themselves from the bird and other slang senses of the word. To be clear, it was already known as Türkiye (endonym: a name used by people living there). Now they are asking that others also call it the same (exonym, a named used by outsiders).
“The breeze is balmy. The sea is turquoise. A blood-orange sun slips under the equatorial horizon.”
Lamu, an Island Bubble; The Economist (London, UK); Mar 12, 2022.
See more usage examples of turquoise in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:There is a beauty in discovery. There is mathematics in music, a kinship of science and poetry in the description of nature, and exquisite form in a molecule. Attempts to place different disciplines in different camps are revealed as artificial in the face of the unity of knowledge. All literate men are sustained by the philosopher, the historian, the political analyst, the economist, the scientist, the poet, the artisan, and the musician. -Glenn T. Seaborg, scientist, Nobel laureate (19 Apr 1912-1999)
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