Word of the Day: Palimpsest

pal·imp·sest (păl’ĭmp-sĕst’)n.

  1. A manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, that has been written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely erased and often legible.
  2. An object, place, or area that reflects its history: “Spaniards in the sixteenth century . . . saw an ocean moving south . . . through a palimpsest of bayous and distributary streams in forested paludal basins” (John McPhee).

[Latin palimpsēstum, from Greek palimpsēston, neuter of palimpsēstos, scraped again : palin, again + psēn, to scrape.]

found on BBC News: Text reveals more ancient secrets


Software developer by day, scale model builder and wargamer by night.

Posted in Makes You Think, Word Of The Day
6 comments on “Word of the Day: Palimpsest
  1. suzi says:

    Had great fun setting a general knowledge quiz here to test some of our software, and “palimpsest” was one of the answers.

    In case you don’t have enough work to do – here are a few of the other questions…

    * What is the name for a group of zebras?
    * Who is the patron saint of bee keepers?
    * Who was the 1958 Cha Cha Champion of Hong Kong?
    * What is defined in the Devils Dictionary as: “the conduct of public affairs to private advantage”?
    * What word means “the annual festivities of a print firm”?

    If you can answer any of them without the help of Google, you’re a better man than I am 😉

  2. Richard@Home says:

    If I remember my “Alas Smith & Jones” sketches… A group of zebra’s is called…

    A Fart of Zebras

    Patron saint of Bee Keepers has to be…

    Buzz Aldrin (groan)

    Cha Cha Champion of Hong Kong is 1958? That would be…

    Hong Cha & Kong Cha – of the infamous Ninja Chacha dojo. (I might have made that one up, but I suspect it might have been a member of the Chinese royal family? The Emperor at the time?)

    “The conduct of public affairs to private advantage” might be…

    A bet/wager? A handshake? (clutching at straws there)

    And a word meaning “the annual festivities of a print firm”…

    … I have no idea :-S

  3. suzi says:

    Thank goodness Google exists, eh 🙂

    You want the answers, or should I leave that as an exercise to the reader?

    (WARNING – a couple of answers follow)

    The patron saint of bee keepers is nearly as good as Buzz Aldrin – it’s St Ambrose.

    And the annual festivities of a print firm are a wayzegoose, which is another lovely word and a song by one of my friends.

  4. suzi says:

    Ooh.. and you got close with the ninjas!

  5. Richard@Home says:

    I didn’t google any of the answers, and still haven’t. So if any of them are even remotely close, it’s more through luck than judgement! 😀

    “wayzegoose”, fantastic word! And there’s no wikipedia entry for it either! That’s a first time wikipedia has come up blank!

    Also, there’s no “wayzegoose.com”!

    Close with the ninja? O.o

    I think thou mockeths me :-p

  6. suzi says:

    (‘-‘*) … how do you do blushing with English smilies? Anyway, I can’t spell:
    Nothing’s ever not in Wikipedia 🙂 Also means “stubbly goose” apparently(!)

    And the rest…
    * A DAZZLE of zebras (how cool is that?)
    * POLITICS is “the conduct of public affairs to private advantage”
    * And BRUCE LEE was the 1958 Cha Cha Champion of Hong Kong, apparently

    I’m leaving the other conversation before it gets on to Qi 😉 Enjoy your beers.

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