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29 April 2010 @ 08:01 am

The word of the day is particularly appropriate as I take myself off to The Cloisters...

The M-W Word of the Day for April 29 is:

palimpsest \PAL-imp-sest\ noun
1 : writing material (as a parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased
*2 : something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface

Example sentence:
"Canada, like any country, is a palimpsest, an overlay of classes and generations." (Margaret Atwood, New York Times Book Review, March 10, 1985)

Did you know?
In olden days, writing surfaces were so rare that they were often used more than once. "Palimpsest" originally described an early form of recycling in which an old document was erased to make room for a new one when parchment ran short. Fortunately for modern scholars, the erasing process wasn't completely effective, so the original could often be distinguished under the newer writing. De republica, by Roman statesman and orator Cicero, is one of many documents thus recovered from a palimpsest. Nowadays, the word "palimpsest" can refer not only to such a document but to anything that has multiple layers

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Kareinakareina on April 29th, 2010 12:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, that word is coming up in my world quite often lately.
Last week I saw it used in a geology article, and had to look it up, and then wrote a blog about it. Then early this week I discovered that a friend on mine from the West is on LJ, and her name is palimpsest_life. Now you post about it...
eithni: sofonisbaeithni on April 29th, 2010 01:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh, that word is coming up in my world quite often lately.
It's actually one of my favoritest words ever. :)
Sara: Bookwormlostvirtue on April 29th, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC)
I did know that. ;)
Uncle Mikeybelmikey on April 29th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC)
Mmmm. The Cloisters.

*sigh* It's almost 23 years since I last made it to either the Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum. I keep saying I want to go, make a trip specifically for it. It keeps not happening....