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22 March 2010

Monday's Word - Hyetal

There is a strange belief with some people that it always rains in my native Wales. Not true - and even if it were I would reply that it's what keeps Wales Green. In fact I remember summers as long and hot and sunny as one could wish for. However, be that as it may, I came across this in Michael Quinion's *'World Wide Words' which I thought rather interesting:

"You may wish to save this adjective for a rainy day, when you can enliven the inevitable discussion about the weather by dropping itinto the conversation. Do not, however, expect it to be understood,even though you're merely referring to rain...

'Hyetal' comes from Greek "huetos", rain, and is related to Greek"hyei", it is raining. It means "relating to rain". A hyetal chart is a rain chart; an isohyetal is a line on a map connecting placesof equal rainfall; a hyetograph is a self-registering rain gauge;and hyetology is the study of the geographical variation and annual
distribution of rainfall. Meteorologists, the main users of theword and its compounds, have extended the meaning to include all forms of precipitation."

Well, it could come in useful for scrabble contests!

*World Wide Words is copyright (c) Michael Quinion 2010. All rights reserved. The Words Web site is at http://www.worldwidewords.org/

By the way, I'm guest blogging at Anna K Lanier's Blog today.  If you'd like to drop by and leave me a comment it'll stop me feeling too lonely!