[Milton-L] Fw: A.Word.A.Day--friar's lantern

Carol Barton cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Tue Dec 11 08:39:10 EST 2007

On Milton and neologism . . .

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Wordsmith" <wsmith at wordsmith.org>
To: <linguaphile at wordsmith.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2007 12:03 AM
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--friar's lantern

> This week's theme: terms in the pattern an X's Y.
> friar's lantern (FRY-uhrz LAN-tuhrn) noun
>   A phosphorescent light seen over marshy ground at night, caused by
>   spontaneous combustion of gases emitted by decomposing organic matter.
>   A synonym is foxfire (not Firefox), especially for luminescence
>   produced by fungi.
> [The first use of the term is in John Milton's 1632 poem L'Allegro:
> "She was pinched and pulled, she said; / And he, by Friar's lantern led."]
> Today's word in Visual Thesaurus: 
> http://visualthesaurus.com/?w1=friar's+lantern
> -Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
>  "Question: What do you get when you cross a firefly with a tobacco plant.
>   Answer: A cigarette that lights itself.
>   The joke quickly made the rounds after a group of genetic engineers in
>   California earlier this month announced that they had transferred into
>   the cells of a tobacco plant the gene that causes a firefly to glow.
>   The tobacco plant seems to rise out of the page like a will-o'-the-wisp
>   or friar's lantern."
>   Chet Raymo; A Tale of a Firefly and a Tobacco Leaf; The Boston Globe;
>   Nov 24, 1986.
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> exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different
> kinds of good weather. -John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social
> reformer (1819-1900)
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> Pronunciation:
> http://wordsmith.org/words/friars_lantern.wav
> http://wordsmith.org/words/friars_lantern.ram
> Permalink: http://wordsmith.org/words/friars_lantern.html
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