Archive for June, 2008


spe·lae·an /spɪˈliən/
of, pertaining to, or inhabiting a cave or caves.

Also, spe·le·an.

[Origin: 1830-40; < NL spélae(us) (adj. deriv. of L spélaeum cave < Gk splaion) + -an]



spe·le·ol·o·gy /ˌspiliˈɒlədʒi/
the exploration and study of caves.

Also, spe·lae·ol·o·gy.

[Origin: 1890-95; < L spélae(um) (see spelaean) + -o- + -logy]

-Related forms
spe·le·o·log·i·cal /ˌspiliəˈlɒdʒɪkəl/, adjective
spe·le·ol·o·gist, noun


Various ENT specialists have, at different times, embarked on major speleological expeditions into my nasal passages, but most of the have come back baffled. The ones who didn’t come back baffled didn’t come back at all, and are now part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Source: The Salmon of Doubt, Douglas Adams.


Maira, a paddy melon.


Instinctively he twisted in the air and ducked to avoid a piece of castle that would have smashed his skull like a maira

Source: Dealer’s Choice, George R R Martin (editor).


tole /toʊl/
enameled or lacquered metalware, usually with gilt decoration, often used, esp. in the 18th century, for trays, lampshades, etc.

Also, tôle.

[Origin: 1925-30; < F tôle sheet of iron, plate, dial. var. of table table]


The columns supporting the distant roof were cut crystal, the walls were glass, the girders and supports silver and gold, the floor an intricate pattern of azure and ruby tole.

Source: Dealer’s Choice, George R R Martin (editor).


zaf·tig /ˈzɑftɪk, -tɪg/
-adjective Slang.
1. (of a woman) having a pleasantly plump figure.
2. full-bodied; well-proportioned.

Also, zoftig.

[Origin: 1935-40; < Yiddish zaftik lit., juicy, succulent; cf. MHG saftec, deriv. of saf(t), OHG saf (G Saft) sap, juice]


Like most of the Tarhiji [Takisian working class] she was on the zaftig side

Source: Double Solitaire, Melinda M Snodgrass.