Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Primogeniture and ectoplasmic

My, they are big words and words I recently read on blogs. They were not out of context but I had not heard of them. Do you all know already and I am the ill educated one?

Pull the first word apart. ture, is always kind of an ending thing and of no consequence. Look at primo and gen. Gen might be gene, and it is. Primo, prime, first. Prima donna. Could I suggest prime gene? While I looked it up when I read the post, I have forgotten already. Prime gene is not telling me enough.

Here is what Wikipedia says.

Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn child to inherit the family estate.

While in the western world this has been disappearing in more recent times, it does at times still happen, as it did to a friend of ours whose older brother inherited the family farm and she and her sister got nothing.

Now, ectoplasmic. While ectoplasm has a biological meaning, I think this what was meant where I read the word:

An immaterial or ethereal substance, especially the transparent corporeal presence of a spirit or ghost.

Yes, I can see how that could be used in a more general sense. However, I can't imagine that I will be able to slip either words into a blog post or general conversation. And that's my learnin' over for the day.

24 comments:

  1. You get a gold star just for your willingness to look up new words. Another for re-introducing me to the word ectoplasm - one of those words I will never remember no matter how many times I see it. Please don't ask me next week what it means.

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    1. FC, usually the context will give a clue as to what a word is about, but primogeniture was a puzzle to me, so I had to look it up. I had an idea about ectoplasm.

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  2. I have come across both of those words in my reading though not, I think, in the same book. And no, they don't fall into day to day conversation here either. Primogeniture was also usually quite specific about WHICH first born child. It usually had to be the first born male. Any earlier females were discounted. Or ignored.

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    1. EC, I wondered about the first born male thing. In our friend's case, it was the first born male.

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  3. Well I never would have guessed those meanings in a million years.
    Merle.........

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    1. The first one Merle, I would never have guessed.

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  4. Currently there are more new words in English than it was in the past. Language is flexible at my place selfie is the new one and "fame" if you talk about normal person who wants to be celebrity for one second.

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    1. Gosia, I think selfie has now gone into dictionaries. Fame is an interesting entry.

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  5. It is great to use words that have more than one syllable and do not include the words "like", "you know" and "whateverrrr". Primogeniture is a word I use in history lectures all the time, because it was such an important concept in most legal codes back then.

    But I don't want to use words incorrectly. There is nothing sillier than hearing people reverse the meaning of inflammable or use iconic in an advertising campaign.

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    1. Hels, there is nothing worse than hearing or reading a big word wrongly used. While not such a big word, vertigo is so often, and understandably, misused.

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    2. Hels, at Target one day I was asked by a customer service officer if I would like to by a combustible bag to carry my purchases in. I did not want to ask as the young lady had been unusually helpful and polite, so I paid for a bag. It was compostable.

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    3. FC, lovely mental image of you walking along carrying a flaming bag.

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  6. Well it's almost midnight and I'm laughing.. again! Isn't ectoplasm the green stuff you see lying around in puddles in movies like Ghostbusters when there's been a 'presence' about :)

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    1. You are close to the biological truth Grace.

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    2. PDP beat me to it just when I was wondering about you all forgetting GHOSTBUSTERS!
      Funny thing though: I tidied my wardrobe this morning, flipped the hanger with the GB Tee, and thought for the 40th time "nah I can't throw that out". St.Bill Murray comes online you know and talks at length with people. go find him

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    3. Em Stacks, don't be thinking of wearing the GB tee next time we catch up.

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  7. The death of a parent, sibling or friend could provide a reason to use both words even if it is only to say that neither came into play following that person's departure.

    (I'm not trying to hasten your mother's eventual demise.)

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    1. I will endeavour to file that away for the future, Victor.

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  8. I remember ectoplasm from Ghostbusters, but I would have had to look up primogeniture.
    Irrelevant in our family anyway as my parents had nothing to leave and my brothers were not his sons either.

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    1. Yeah, same here River. At the rate Mother is going, the value of her house will have to pay for her care at some point.

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    2. no no - start your research now: they are not all Becton-owned mega chain homes. There are nice ones that just do the pension. The John Curtin Homes at Creswick is that kind, and there are others. "community based" or something. good luck, it's a minefield.

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    3. Em Stacks, there are a huge number being built in Pakenham, where Mother lives, but mostly private I think. I have had a look at what her options might be, but she is not keen on moving at all yet.

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  9. Primogeniture was heavily discussed in the wider MSM during the gestation of the Wills/Kate sprog and Her Maj decreed that if it was Princess Podge Tiggy Plum, then it could be King anyhow.

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    1. Yes, so it is still down the first born, but now whichever sex. When the King of Thailand dies, which must surely be soon, his playboy layabout son will become king. But the people want his younger sister to be head royal, as she is decent and hardworking.

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