Nov 28, 2007

Rapid Rhetoric: RAMELLOSE

Raphael's depiction of Plato defining the difference between true and false rhetoric This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

ramellose (RAH-meh-lohs) adj. (botany) bearing small branches; pertaining to small branches.

"Ramellose" comes to the English language via the Latin word ramus ("branch"), and the diminuitive form ramellus ("small branch").

I have been able to find little else about this word beyond its narrow botanical uses, except that it has been used in the Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee several times. Ramellose appears to be one of those words that is only used by the hyper-literate, or those who wish to use obscure words as a form of intellectual intimidation.

Thus, I suggest that we either begin to find unique ways to fit the word "ramellose" into new meanings ("Percy's nose hairs began to etxend downward in a disturbingly ramellose fashion"), or that we pack our camping gear and then take this under-utilized word and heave it into the river.

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