How you say it: [gluh-BEL-uh]
What it is: noun
How to pluralize it: glabellae [gluh-BEL-ee] or [gluh-BEL-eye]
What it means: 1.) smooth prominence on the forehead between the eyebrows and just above the nose. (Definition courtesy of my trusty, well-loved copy of Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 1997)
Let that sink in for a moment. Yes, there’s a name for that hairless spot between your eyebrows. There’s a name for that! That is how awesome our language is. Now, this word is rather obscure and slightly more ‘scientific’ in nature, so if you use it, you’ll probably come across as ostentatious and erudite. Of course, if you use ‘ostentatious’ and ‘erudite’ you’ll come across as ostentatious and erudite, but don’t let that stop you. (Don’t know what those words mean? There’s a link to Dictionary.com in the sidebar.)
Now, normally I don’t include the origins of words in my Word of the Week posts, but this particular derivation was just way too interesting to pass up.
Where this word comes from (etymology): Modern Latin, derived from the classical Latin. Glabella is the feminine form of glabellus, meaning “without hair.” Glabellus is derived from the classical Latin glaber, meaning “smooth or bald.” Glaber is derived from the Indo-European (a language that was in use well before Latin was spoken) ghladh-ros, which is derived from ghladh. Ghladh meant “shining or smooth,” and it was derived from the base ghel-, meaning “to shine.” Bizarrely, the word glad, as in ‘happy,’ is ultimately derived from this same Indo-European base, the idea being that when you feel glad it’s like you’re shining with happiness. (Etymological information drawn from Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 1997)
Yeah. That’s what happens to words over thousands of years; we get “happy” and “hairless spot between your eyebrows” from the same root word. Language is a bizarre and fascinating creature.
Use it three times and it’s yours! Using a word three times can help you remember it.
The six-eyed space alien had not one, but three glabellae.
When Katie caught a glimpse of her reflection, she saw to her dismay that a large pimple had formed on her glabella.
The lacy silver circlet came to a point in the center of the princess’s forehead, and a brilliant jewel dangled over her glabella.
Share your three sentences in the comments!
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