Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sometimes, A Single Word is a Poem

I stole this from my daughter's blog.  I love that there's a word for this!!
From Wikipedia: 
Petrichor  (/ˈpɛtrɨkɔər/) is the scent of rain on dry earth, or the scent of dust after rain. The word is constructed from Greek, petros, meaning ‘stone’ + ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology. It is defined as "the distinctive scent which accompanies the first rain after a long warm dry spell".[1]

The term was coined in 1964 by two Australian researchers, Bear and Thomas, for an article in the journal Nature.[2][3] In the article, the authors describe how the smell derives from an oil exuded by certain plants during dry periods, whereupon it is absorbed by clay-based soils and rocks. During rain, the oil is released into the air along with another compound, geosmin, a metabolic by-product of certain Actinobacteria, which is emitted by wet soil, producing the distinctive scent; ozone may also be present if there is lightning.[4] In a follow-up paper, Bear and Thomas (1965) showed that the oil retards seed germination and early plant growth.[5] This would indicate that the plants exude the oil in order to safeguard the seeds from germination under duress.


Kelly said...

What a great word! (and it's a distinctive smell, indeed)

erin said...

oh! why is it that i want the term to be older? would that give it any more credence? and yet it seems that way, doesn't it, with language, as though we are not the source.

but is such a good word i want the source to be divine.


Marion said...

Kelly, right??? I get so excited when I learn a new word. It's like walking along and finding a silver dollar on the ground. xo

Erin, I know! I would have preferred 1694. :-) To me, all words are divine.

My favorite Bible verse is John 1:1 - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." I meditate on that single, mind-blowing sentence daily and still can't wrap my mind around it. Divine, indeed!! xo