Archive for June 15th, 2007

Wordplay – Vesuvian

I’m all about building vocabulary. It’s something I stress with my kids regularly – in addition to just pure enunciation when they speak. There will be no mumbly mouths under my roof!

The word “vesuvian” caught my attention today. In modern day terms, vesuvian refers to a slow-burning match used for lighting cigars.  Kind of like a fusee, which I used to play with when my cousin visited during the summer.  On hot nights, we’d go outside, light a fusee, throw it on the sidewalk and watch as bugs and moths dive bombed to their deaths into the fire – not unlike the way Kamikaze pilots dive bombed ships at sea during World War II.  Those fusees, wrapped in red paper and covered with what seemed like a thin coating of wax to make them burn longer put off an odor that smelled like fireworks. I love that smell.

But vesuvian also means marked by sudden or violent outbursts. As in, “…his vesuvian-like behavior erupted whenever life failed to go his way.” This use comes from Mount Vesuvius, the only volcano on the European mainland that has erupted in the past century.

Vesuvian.  It rolls off the tongue.



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