verde – 2

While verdant isn’t the most common word, English has gone back to the original Latin viridis, the source of Spanish verde, for the even less-common virid ‘vividly green, having the color of fresh vegetation.’ The matching abstract noun is viridity—not to be confused, of course, with virility (unless the man in question happens to have bright green skin). English tones things down a bit with viridescent ‘slightly green, greenish.’ Spanish verdete is ‘the green patina that forms on copper exposed to air or water.’ The English name for that is verdigris, from an Old French compound in which the second element is a reference to Greece, a place where there were ample castings of copper and bronze on which the sea air could do its transforming work. Thousands of miles to the west is the affluent California community known as Palos Verdes, and from there to Texas paloverde is the name of a type of tree whose bark is distinctively green. (See more about palo.)

A young paloverde tree

© Steven Schwartzman


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If you encounter an unfamiliar technical term in any of these postings, check the Glossary in the bar across the top of the page.
©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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