The letter sequence –spiss– is rarely used, but it is consistent in its
meaning when it appears. It comes from a Latin word that means thick.
Inspissation is used in
medicine to designate the formation of plugs in ducts—plugs formed by a thickened
viscid material. It is a factor in cystic fibrosis, for instance. Here is a snippet from a
medical journal: “Cystic fibrosis is characterized by the elaboration of
abnormal, thick, tenacious mucus resulting in obstructive disease in sites such
as the lung and pancreas.” [Inspissation of pancreatic zymogen material in
cystic fibrosis, by Tucker JA,
Spock A, Spicer SS, et al.]
Inspissation is also
used in the culinary arts and in brewing. It is a thickening process that may
be accomplished by boiling, evaporating, condensing, or adding a bonding agent.
Here is an example from Cook’s Second Voyage: “I now made three puncheons of beer, of the
inspissated juice of malt. The proportion I made use of was about ten barrels
of water to one of juice. Fifteen of the nineteen half barrels of the
inspissated juice we had on board, was produced from wort that was hopped
Here are some other
words using the letter sequence.
- spiscious: of a thick consistency
- spiss: thick, dense, compact
- spissated: thickened
- spissed: thickened, condensed
- spissitude: thickness, density, compactness
- spissy: dense, compact
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