Good day to you, my sweet smelling flowers of language! Today we journey to the centre of your very face, to the nose! To explore today’s word: macrosmatic.
‘Macrosmatic’ is a word meaning ‘to have a good sense of smell.’ You know that one person who goes, ‘Has Terrence been over lately? I swear I can smell his eau de cologne’, when in fact Terrence hasn’t been over in at least five weeks. Creepy.
‘Macrosmatic’ is made up of ‘macro’ meaning ‘large or long’ and ‘osmatic’ meaning ‘relating to the sense of smell’; thus, large sense of smell. Macro comes from the Ancient Greek ‘makrós’ meaning ‘long’. You might, for example, have had the misfortune of studying macroeconomics in your first year of business studies, which relates to the ‘branch of economics concerned with large-scale or general economic factors, such as interest rates and national productivity.’ ‘Osmatic’ comes from the French osmatique, supposedly coined by one Paul Broca, and from the Greek ‘osmē’ meaning ‘smell, scent, odor’. One can also be microsmatic: having little sense of smell, or anosmatic: lacking the sense of smell entirely.
Let us take a moment to examine the word we use to describe the place all smells are smelt - the nose! ‘Nose’ comes from Old English ‘nosu’, from Proto-Germanic ‘*nusō’. My favourite comparison is to the Norwegian ‘nos’ meaning ‘snout’. ‘Nos’ in Norwegian can also refer to a steep protruding point on a mountain. The word ‘nose’ can be used as a verb in many different ways, including to snoop, detect, push or to move cautiously somewhere. It can also mean ‘the bulge on the side of a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, that fits into the hole of its adjacent piece.’ Who knew?
Isn’t language wonderful?
Written by Taylor Davidson, Read by Zane C Weber
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