Teresa's Dirty Word of the Day September 30, 2023


The Dirty Word of The Day is rare. Is it even an English word? I found this word in a meme which had a spectral forest view. The word is psithurism is found only six times in Victorian gothic novels from 1871 to 1876. The definition is “Whispering; a whispering noise, as of leaves moved by the wind.”

The whirring noises of wind flowing through trees and the trees’ foliage rubbing back and forth was so stirring that the word was invented to describe the movement.

Like many words that begin with "ps," the "p" at the beginning of psithurism is silent, and the word is pronounced sith-err-iz-um. Psithurism comes from the Greek word psithuros, which means whispering, like the blowing of leaves through the trees.

Source credit: “Is the Word “Psithurism” Really Used in English?” English Language & Usage Stack Exchange, bit.ly/3PVfcia. Accessed 30 Sept. 2023.

Photo credit: ‘The Wind’, Félix Vallotton https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.66439.html

Photo: image courtesy National Gallery of Art

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