Not necessarily a friendly word. It has a functional edge, with its apparent cube root (how mathematical) and resonances of queue and Bic, but cubes may make one think of ice, especially icicle, and the bic when it runs on to icle may put one in a pickle. The echo of tickle seems rather weak; fickle, with its f closer to the b, might come to mind sooner. Other rhymes may give a sense of excess testosterone. The shape of the word seems to mirror its object: the two c‘s and the u are shaped rather like many a cubicle seen on a floor plan, while the word as a whole looks like a side view, with the b and l forming walls (with a desk, and the c doubling as chair) and the i boxed inside, perhaps about to prairie-dog. Or perhaps about to nod off… which would be appropriate, etymologically, since that’s what a cubicle first was: a bedchamber. You see, this word doesn’t actually come from cube (which the Latins took from the Greek word for a die, as in the gaming item); it comes from Latin cubiculum, from cubare, “recline.” And, frankly, looking around an office mid-afternoon, in spite of all the hard surfaces and this hard-seeming word, you may find it hasn’t shifted very far in meaning after all…
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.
- 365 words for drunk
- around, about, approximately
- turn the other cheek
- An article title, "An article title 'An article title needs commas' needs commas," needs commas
- I plight thee my troth
- confident in or about?
- Etymology in dire straits
- To be, or not to be, that is the question
- Word Index
- Coffice Space
- from the bookshelf
- language and linguistics
- new old words
- Poetry Minute and a Half
- pronunciation tips
- sentence tastings
- The Week
- Word Country
- word pictures
- word portraits
- word reviews
- word sommelier
- word tasting notes