Daily Archives: November 24, 2008

radish

This word brings echoes of reddish, radical, even perhaps raffish, laddish and kaddish. Those who have eaten its object may think of burning when they hear the sh and perhaps think of raw or mad (or even bad) when hearing the first syllable. (Those who have seen the word laddish lately might think of that, too.) This word probably will not bring to mind the name Radisson, but the converse is likely often true. Ironically, this word for a root plant has no descenders… Of course, you could think of the x-height as the soil level and the ascenders and dot as the greenery sticking up. The word may also be seen to match the plant in that the rad is like the red outside and the ish is perhaps, in its white noise, like the white inside. This duotonality, while not typically raised in comparison to the Canadian flag, made radish at times a term of abuse for communists who only paid lip service. But while the radish communists may not have been true radicals, the radish certainly is – not because of its peppery flavour (however “rad” that may be, dude), but because radish comes from Latin radix, meaning “root”… which also gives us the word radical. Radical change is change at the very roots. And it’s often rather hot to the taste, too.