Friday, February 24, 2012

Fascicles

A friend on Facebook has just alerted me to the following delightful quote, which comes from the preface of an academic book: ‎"The editors will be grateful to our readers if they would report to the editors any errors (typograhical or otherwise) they encounter in this or the other published fascicles."
Typograhical is a great word, the sort of word someone just about to sneeze might use.  However, I didn't notice typograhical at first because I assumed the error was a substitution of fascicles for facsimiles.  I thought fascicles wasn't even a word, but I'm completely wrong on that score.  It has a long established history, and is used (as mandrel was in my previous post) in a variety of circumstances.  

Basically it refers to a bundle or a cluster of somethings.   It's common in anatomy in regard to nerves and muscles, and even vascular tissue, and it turns up in botany as a cluster of flowers or leaves, such as the bundles of thin leaves (or needles) of pines.   It can also be a particular edition of a series of papers published one at a time, or even an extension of that, as this article on Emily Dickinson's poems indicates. (That piece probably gets the prize for using the word fascicles more times than any other in as short a space as possible.)


Now that we've discovered the word, it's probable you could use it in a variety of circumstances, and fool your less literary friends (which included me until a few minutes ago).  A fascicle of briefcases for men who are waiting on the railway platform for their train.   A large (very large) fascicle of teenagers attending a rock concert.  The fascicles of poo the dog leaves lying around outside in a variety of places over a period of days (that's a very serial approach).  A fascicle of odd papers scattered over the top of my printer which is where odd papers now reside since I lost the use of a more practical space a couple of years ago.

So, there you go: two new words in a single day.  I'll be catching up with two-year-olds soon!
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