Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The growler

Anu Garg of Wordsmith.org sent out a week of words that have multiple and varied meanings. Growler had 5 definitions:
  1. One that growls.
  2. A container brought by a customer to fetch beer.
  3. Small iceberg pieces less than 5 meters at the waterline get their name from the sound they make when they plunge down into the water when oscillating in sea swells.
  4. A four-wheeled cab.
  5. An electromagnetic device for testing short-circuited coils.
Use all the meanings in a single writing piece.

If five isn't enough for you, here are some informal definitions sent by readers of the Word A Day newsletter:
  • A student who can't sing in tune.
  • The sound box put inside "talking bears."
  • A Victorian-era slang word for a sausage (at least so says James P. Blaylock in his novel Homonculus)
  • A slang term for a pork pie (in Yorkshire, in the North of England).
  • A very large clam (at least it is in Phillip Craig's mystery series set on Martha's Vineyard (an island off the coast of Massachusetts)).
  • A station to station telephone that employs a small hand crank to produce a growling noise at the called station (US Navy).
  • A large-mouthed black bass.
  • A diesel locomotive.
  • Translucent messages and icons that appear on a computer screen for a short time.
  • Pre-fabricated burgers once served at the student cafeteria at Memorial University of Newfoundland; for their obvious effect once ingested.
  • A heavy, fast food meat pie in Northern England that can cause quite severe indigestion.
  • Portable electric toilets used by wilderness guides in areas such as the Grand Canyon.
  • A slang meaning I've often heard for this word is 'outhouse'. Also portable toilets.
  • A bathroom.
When you're done "Dave from Maryland" illustrated the five meanings at Word A Day.
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