If you ever see this word come up, it will surely seem to have surfaced from some unclear depths. Its very pronunciation is likely to be uncertain. Has it do with with Appalachian? Quite the opposite. With selah? Rather not: more likely seizure than caesura. With seals? Only as dinner. Is a chain involved? Expect ropes if anything, but only attached to macropiscatorial gear. With a lack? Depends on whose perspective. With an ache? A short sharp one perhaps. With a loch? Sooner a sea – a selachian is, in the broad sense, a thalassian. And the word does sound rather like “sea-lake-ian,” or perhaps like “seal achin’,” both of which are not altogether off-key (or off-quay). It slips in voicelessly with an s, jumps to a liquid l, then putes a bite in with a [k], releasing for the suffix. But I should not put too mordant a bent on this: although the genus Selachii (from Greek selachos, “shark”) includes sharks, it also includes skates and rays – or, as the OED puts it, “the sharks and their allies,” making one wonder whether its natural enemies are the jets. But that’s a story for the west side; this is one for the wet side – and a word probably best used at a distance.
Be a patron!Support Sesquiotica and get extra premium content and goodies. Starts as low as $1 a month! Find out more and subscribe on Patreon.com
I am for hireI earn my living as an independent editor, writer, and educator. Find out more and contact me at jamesharbeck.com.
Buy the T-shirt (or coffee mug or hip flask)
Wear it proudly:
I operate on a NEED-TO-KNOW basis. I need to know EVERYTHING.
Buy it at cafepress.ca/sesquiphernalia
12 Gifts for Writers ebook – free download
Buy my books
Buy my books on Lulu.com:
- Confessions of a Word Lush (paperback)
- Confessions of a Word Lush (ebook)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (paperback)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (ebook)
- 12 Gifts for Writers (print edition)
You can also get them on Amazon.com. Please note that I make less than half as much per book if you buy them there, however.
Word Tasting Notes Google groupGet just the word tasting notes daily by email – join the Google Word Tasting Notes group.
- Coffice Space
- from the bookshelf
- language and linguistics
- new old words
- Poetry Minute and a Half
- pronunciation tips
- The Week
- Word Country
- word pictures
- word portraits
- word reviews
- word sommelier
- word tasting notes