Community Comment

A Word A Day — inspissate

August 31, 2012

Word of the Day

  • inspissate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \in-SPISS-ayt\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

verb

: to make or become thick or thicker
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

"Marmalade of carrots is the juice of yellow carrots, inspissated till it is of the thickness of fluid honey, or treacle, which last it resembles both in taste and color." — From Capt. James E. Cook's 1777 book A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World, Volume 1

"Estrogen and progesterone affect direction and flow of tubal secretions, which may accumulate, inspissate, and eventually calcify." — From Gary B. Siskin's 2009 book Interventional Radiology in Women’s Health

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

"Inspissate" is ultimately derived from Latin "spissus" ("slow, dense") and is related to Greek "spidnos" ("compact") and Lithuanian "spisti" ("to form a swarm"). When it appeared in English in the 17th century, "inspissate" suggested a literal thickening. Francis Bacon, for example, wrote in 1626 that "Sugar doth inspissate the Spirits of the Wine, and maketh them not so easie to resolue into Vapour." Eventually "inspissate" was also used metaphorically. Clive Bell once wrote of "parties of school children and factory girls inspissating the gloom of the museum atmosphere." There is also an adjective "inspissate," meaning "thickened in consistency" or "made thick, heavy, or intense," but that word is used even less frequently than the somewhat rare verb.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.




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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.








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