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Words for Leavings and Dregs

Amy from Ishpeming, Michigan, says her family’s idiolect includes the word grinslies, which they use to denote the sediment in the bottom of your coffee cup. The word orts is also a term for leftovers, and a dialectal term for the last little...

Vinegar Mother

A woman in Cheyenne, Wyoming, says her mom used to refer to the cloudy scum that sometimes forms atop vinegar as mother. The term has been around at least 500 years, and can refer to the scum on the top or sediment on the bottom. It’s also...

beach nourishment

beach nourishment  n.— «Depositing sediment onto a beach and bulldozing it into place—a practice called beach nourishment—has become one of the more controversial functions of the Corps” Civil Works Directorate. Besides building...

yellow boy

yellow boy  n.— «The mine drainage sediment—commonly called “yellow boy”—is, essentially, iron hydroxide, or rust. The problem is that the pollutant oozes out of mine areas, contaminating waterways and shutting down most...

schmutzdecke

schmutzdecke  n.— «Most of this gelatinous growth and of the deposited sediment collects in the top half-inch or so of the bed, and combined form what the Germans call schmutzdecke, which term has been adopted in this country. This...

fairy ring

fairy ring  n.— «Some sediment dweller has built its mound hard against a nodule. And on the left is a “fairy ring” of unknown origin that seems to be slipping and perhaps rolling nodules into its moat.» —“Why are there...