Pronounced: HOB-zee-uhn, adj

Notes: I associated this word with the Hobbes of Calvin and Hobbes and couldn’t come up with a definition (that’s because I was wrong)

Yesterday’s word

The word chiropteran means “bat (any of an order of night-flying mammals with forelimbs modified to form wings)”

First usage

This word came into English in the mid-1800s

Background / Comments

After reading the definition, I remembered chiroptera is the order for bats, and thus I should have known this word. Did you know that bats are the only mammal capable of true flight? (I didn’t). The word comes from the Greek words cheir (hand) and pteron (wing). The Greek word cheir is also part of the word “surgery”; the full Greek source is cheirourgos (doing by hand). The Greek word pteron, besides being used in the names of many flying insects, is the one of the ancestors of “helicopter” – from heliko (spiral) and pteron (wing). Now you can explain how “bat” is, etymologically speaking, related to both “helicopter” and “surgery”.

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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