Friday, July 9, 2010


I am easily pleased. All I need to make me deliriously happy each morning is to have a hot cup of hazelnut-flavored coffee delivered to my hand and a good new word sent to me in one of my multitudinous internet dictionary subscriptions.

I am one happy lady today. I’ve had the coffee, and here is the word:


Have you ever heard of it? Neither had I, because it has to do with ostriches.

Here’s the way Merriam-Webster used it this morning in their Word of the Day offering:

“The law is not so struthious as to compel a judge…to divorce himself or herself from common sense or to ignore what is perfectly obvious. (Hon. Bruce M. Selya, U.S. v. Sklar, U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit, 1990).

So what does it have to do with ostriches?

Well, the ostrich is scientifically named Struthio camelus. (One would make a guess that the camelus comes from camel, but since I’m dealing with the struthio, not the camelus, you can hunt that one down yourself). Struthious therefore means “Of or relating to the ostriches and related birds.”

Merriam Webster says “Struthious” can be figuratively used as meaning “ostrich-like,” and of course from that one has to think of the ostrich burying its head in the sand. That image, then, makes sense of the old judge not needing to act struthiously.

So if we can get ourselves familiar enough with that word to have it trip off our tongue without our seeming to be a bit smart-alecky with our words, we should be able to use it quite often. I already think that it describes the way Jerry looks at me when I tell him I hear another strange noise coming from inside our car engine.

So give the word a try. Just be sure that you understand that an ostrich does not really bury its head in the sand. It just likes to lie down on the ground and flatten its neck and head against the ground to avoid being seen, something I have considered doing on occasion also if I could figure out how not to make a spectacle of myself!

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