Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Solstice

Summer solstice is coming up in my hemisphere, the longest day of the year. Solstice, from the Latin, means “sun standing still” because it appears to come to a halt on that day. Fortunately, it always changes its mind and returns to its journey.

There are some interesting words through which the sun shines.

• Apricate [L. apricari] means to bask in the sun, something that my Neo does rather well.

• Helianthus [Gr. helios, sun + anthos, flower] is the botanical genus that contains the common sunflower.

• Heliosis was exposure to the sun, often leading to sunstroke.

• The chemical element helium was first discovered by studying the spectrum emitted by the sun.

• To insolate is to expose something to the sun’s rays, quite the opposite of insulate.

• Something solific [L. sol, sun] was impregnated with solar qualities; medicinal wine was exposed to the sun in measured doses to capture its healing qualities.

SIDEBAR: Sumer Is Icumen In

Now available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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