Vocabulary Rocks!

Salient: -adjective 1) Projected or jutting beyond a line or surface; protruding. 2) Strikingly conspicuous; prominent; noticeable. 3) Springing or jumping.   -noun 1) A military position that projects into the enemy’s position. 2) A projecting angle or part, such as a landform protruding from a mountain. Origin: 1560, Latin salientem> to leap; military usage of ‘pointing outward’ from 1687.

Interesting word with varied meanings. I love language! Obviously it is in its adjective form, number 2 that salient appears in the current Novel Passage.

Intrinsic: -adjective 1) Belonging to a thing by its very nature; essential; inherent. 2) In anatomy, belonging to or lying within a given organ or part; used of certain muscles and nerves. Origin: 1480, Latin intrinsecus> inward; from intrin or inter> interior + secus> beside, to follow.

Platitude: -noun 1) A dull, trite, or obvious remark uttered as if fresh or profound; cliché; truism. 2) The quality or state of being flat, dull, or trite. Origin: 1694, French plat> flat or dull.

Influenza: -noun 1) An acute, commonly epidemic disease in several forms caused by numerous rapidly mutating viral strains and characterized by respiratory symptoms and general prostration. Origin: Borrowed in 1743 during an outbreak of the disease in Europe from the Latin influentia> influence, due the belief that epidemics were influenced by the stars and the occult; used in Italy for diseases since 1504 (influenza di febbre scarlattina or scarlet fever). Medical evolution led to its modification to influenza del freddo, meaning “influence of the cold.” Archaic terms for influenza include epidemic catarrh, grippe, sweating sickness, and Spanish fever.

Influenza symptoms were first described by Hippocrates some 2400 years ago. Since then the virus has caused numerous pandemics throughout the world, but historical data is difficult to interpret correctly as the symptoms are similar to those of other diseases, namely diphtheria, plague, typhoid fever, dengue, and typhus. The first accurate record of a pure flu pandemic was the outbreak of 1580 that began in Asia and spread over Europe wiping out whole cities and killing thousands. Such pandemics were sporadic occurances throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. The Spanish Flu of 1919 killed upward to 100 million people worldwide! No region on the globe was spared, the infection rate and death toll rivalling any other pandemic ever, including the Black Death of the 1340s. With the invention of antibiotics to counteract the secondary infections and vaccines to prevent the outbreak, influenza pandemics of the 20th century have not been as severe.

Although the typical symptoms can be similar to those of the common cold, they are much more severe and last far longer. Additionally, flu viruses attack the bodies cells causing tissue damage that leads to life threatening complications, especially in the very young, very old, or those with chronic problems. One can easily imagine that in the bygone years of minimal medical knowledge, something as relatively simple as a flu could rapidly lead to death. It was not a disease to be taken lightly!

Valise: -noun 1) A small piece of luggage that can be carried by hand; traveling bag. Origin: 1568, French valise from older derivatives dating to 1298. These two photos are of travel bags from the late Victorian Era.



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