Petrichor

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Petrichor

Post by Bobinwales » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:28 am

Now here is a word to crowbar into a conversation. It is a new one on me. PETRICHOR is apparently the pleasant smell of earth that has had rain fall on it after a period of rain.

One of my friends said it to show off!
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Re: Petrichor

Post by Wizard of Oz » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:54 am

.. Bob I have said that word in every which way and it cannot, does not feel pleasant in my mouth .. it feels putrid and ichy .. funny ..

WoZ tasting the smell
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Re: Petrichor

Post by trolley » Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:39 pm

I agree with WoZ. I love the smell of summer rain but petrichor just doesn't capture it. A swing and a miss.
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Re: Petrichor

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:49 pm

The etymology of petrichor presented under Bob's link is as follows:
1960s: blend of petro- 'relating to rocks' (the smell is believed to be caused by a liquid mixture of organic compounds which collects in the ground) and ichor
Merriam-Webster defines ichor thus:
1
: a thin watery or blood-tinged discharge
2
: an ethereal fluid taking the place of blood in the veins of the ancient Greek gods
Merriam-Webster's medical dictionary defines it thus:
a thin watery or blood-tinged discharge (as from an ulcer)—compare sanies
For sanies:
a thin blood-tinged seropurulent discharge from ulcers or infected wounds—compare ichor
We can safely say that both the main connotations of the -ichor component are inappropriate, but for entirely opposite reasons.

At best, one might use the word in a strictly biological or agricultural context, but in a novel it would strike a decidedly false note:
Jeanine flung open the French windows and stepped out onto the patio, which was still damp from the heavy dew that had settled on the garden during the night. Looking across the lichen-covered fountain towards the wooded slopes on the other side of the valley, she surveyed the hawthorns whose creamy pink buds were just starting to open in the hedgerows, and simultaneously savoured the fragrant petrichor that emanated from the billions of bacteria inhabiting the soil of the lawn. A massive factory of microorganisms, she reflected, all working in unison to infuse her spirit with a sense of well-being and satisfaction. It never occurred to her that this pleasant state might be described by her more ideologically inclined and chronically impoverished acquaintances as the fruit of privileged economic exploitation and bourgeois complacency augmented by a type of purposelessly amoral microbial superproductivity.
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Re: Petrichor

Post by Bobinwales » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:12 pm

I have to admit that it will not find its way into my vocabulary. But please remember that in Wales two days without rain is considered a dry spell!
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End of topic.
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