In my other blog I recently showed a close-up photograph of a cricket, and a commenter said that I should have added some etymology to the entomology by bringing in the word stridulation, which Spanish shares in the expected form estridulación. The latest edition of the American Heritage Dictionary gives two definitions:
1. Characterized by or making a shrill grating sound or noise.
2. Relating to or characterized by stridor.
That second definition makes us aware that there’s a related noun stridor, which also has a two-part English definition:
The DRAE defines the Spanish counterpart estridor as ‘Sonido agudo, desapacible y chirriante,’ which is about the same as the English definition.
Both forms of the noun go back to Latin strīdēre, an imitative verb that meant ‘to make harsh sounds.’ From that verb Latin created the adjective strīdulus, which we’ve borrowed as estriduloso/stridulous, and which is the basis for the modern verb estridular/stridulate and the noun that we began with, estridulación/stridulation.
© 2014 Steven Schwartzman