[Ads-l] Not in the OED -- perhaps with good reason

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Apr 11 19:36:58 UTC 2022

Words from 2 articles in recent NYTimes.

1: snarge; bits of bird that have gone through a jet engine

"Since its formation, the Feather Identification Lab has worked with the
Federal Aviation Administration to make air travel safer. Using the
Smithsonian’s vast collection of feathers, Dr. Dove and other experts can
take a piece of “snarge,” what they call bits of bird that have gone
through a jet engine, and figure out which species it belonged to. Then,
airport managers and wildlife biologists can work together to make the
facilities less attractive to those species."

The Shakespearean Tall Tale That Shaped How We See Starlings

April 11, 2022

In addition, this article studies the notion that starlings were introduced
to America by a crank who wanted every bird mentioned in Shakespeare's
plays to be found in the U. S.  Apparently, there was such a crank, but he
was not the only person to release starling here, nor even the first.  I
had been thinking that the genetic makeup of American starlings would be
worth studying, if they are all descended from the few pairs the crank
released.  But it seems that they are not.

2: triet: a synchronized call uttered by three birds.

"Suhridam Roy, a graduate student at the foundation, visited four of these
trios and played recordings of other crane pairs singing their territorial
duets. In response, each trio performed its own synchronized call. The
scientists called it a triet."

These Birds Form a Trio, but Probably Not a Throuple

April 9, 2022

The cranes in question are the sarus crane, of India.  A pair of birds are
often joined by a third bird, either male or female, who helps to gather
food and otherwise raise the baby cranes.

The article, in its on-line version, offers a ten-second video of three cranes

It's on record that among other species of birds a third bird will join in
raising the young of the season, but it seems that the third bird is always
a sibling from the previous brood.  These cranes are unusual in that the
nanny-bird isn't an immediate relative, and that the relationship may
continue over more than one year.

I suppose that "throuple" is a nonce-word, meant as a joke.  It's not in
the OED, anyway.

"triet" might be a joking nonce-word, too, but at least it's attributed to
scientists, not to the headline writer.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
your lowly tomb. . .
L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112

The Trump of Doom -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool.  (Here's a
picture of his great-grandfather.)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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