Gentle suspense. Tortured heroes. Mischievous heroines.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Word of the Day crepitate

Word of the Day

  • crepitate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \KREP-uh-tayt\
: to make a crackling sound : to make a series of short, sharp noises
Most of the tiny town's residents had something to contribute to the bonfire, and it burned brightly and crepitated loudly late into the night.

"A familiar synthetic beat starts the disc…. The band slowly fills in around the pulse, wind blowing through tunnels, factories moaning, yawning infrastructure, broken, creaking. Embers of some final blast crepitating." — From a music review by David King in Metroland, October 17, 2013
"Crepitate" comes from the Latin word "crepitare," meaning "to crackle." It has been used with this meaning since the late 1820s, but it had a previous life: about 200 years prior it was used to mean "to break wind." That meaning is now obsolete, and the word has no embarrassing remnants. In addition to its general use as a synonym of "crackle," "crepitate" also has a specific medical meaning—"to produce or experience crepitation." "Crepitation" here refers to a grating or crackling sound or sensation, such as that produced by the fractured ends of a bone moving against each other.


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