Monday, September 30, 2013

Word of the Week - Cucumber

I'm back! All settled in (mostly) at the new house, with internet up and running--if you heard the "Hallelujah Chorus" ringing through the air last night, that was just me when my angel of a husband got it all set up. ;-)

My search for a word of the week started with the last one I posted, "cool." I kept scrolling down through the listings at www.etymonline.com, and soon I learned something!

Cucumber is from the Latin cucumerem, and may even predate Latin, believe it or not--this is one ancient veggie! ;-) In the 17th and 18th centuries, English speakers often spelled it cowcumber, and that pronunciation apparently lingered well into the 19th century, though the spelling had, by then, changed.

But of course, what convinced me that this vegetable is worthy of a Word of the Week is the phrase "cool as a cucumber." That idiom came about around 1732. Ever wonder why? Well apparently folk knowledge said that cucumber fields were cooler than the air around them. Which would earn nothing but an "interesting...okay" except that in the 1970s scientists thought to question this old phrase. And what did they learn? That, indeed, the temperature in a cucumber patch is 20 degrees below the surrounding areas!

I had no idea. Honestly, I didn't even know where the phrase came from. Pretty neat, eh? 

Oh, and ATTENTION WRITERS! 

For an upcoming article in the ACFW Journal, a friend of mine is running a survey at The Character Therapist on whether writers feel supported or unsupported by their spouses. The survey will be live at 6 a.m. CST today and will remain up for a month. If you're a writer (with a spouse, I suppose, LOL), do go take the survey, and pass along the link to your writing friends! 

http://charactertherapist.blogspot.com/2013/09/writers-quiz-is-your-partner-supportive.html 

8 comments:

  1. Wow, what an interesting word and history, especially the part about a field actually being cooler than the surrounding areas. That's it! We can just grow cucumbers all over my yard and house in the summer!

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  2. Very interesting word, Roseanna! Neither my mom nor I knew that about cukes before reading your article this morning.

    Glad to hear you're in your new home sweet home. How are the kids adjusting to the move? I hope all continues to go well for your family in this new transition.

    Blessings,
    Andrea

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    1. My hubby naturally said, "Why is that? Did you look that up too?" Um, no... "Well why not? Wikipedia it or something. You can't just give a fact like that without explaining why." LOL

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    2. Oh, and the kids are settling in well. =) Though they have their own rooms for the first time in 3 years, and I am getting very tired of the you-can't-come-in! arguments, gotta say. LOL.

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    3. Lol. Sounds like your kids are settling in just fine. :) Perhaps they just want to enjoy their new-found space for a while. Don't worry. I'm sure they'll start missing each other soon enough.

      I'd say your hubby knows you really well. :)

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  3. That is TOTALLY fascinating! Love facts like this. So glad you're feeling settled, by the way. Hoping that soon you are as cool as a cucumber ;)

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    1. Cool as a cuke is my normal mode of operation. ;-)

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