A teacher of English as a second language asks our Facebook group to name some unusual words for ordinary things. The group’s suggestions include winklehawk, which means an L-shaped tear in cloth, and diastema, which means a gap between one’s teeth. In his 1926 book History in English Words, Owen Barfield offers this lyrical observation about etymology: “Words may be made to disgorge the past that is bottled up inside them, as coal and wine, when we kindle or drink them, yield up their bottled sunshine.” This is part of a complete episode.

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