Will this thick word become liquid as its trips on your tongue? It has a sliding mechanical sound, like a bolt-action gun being cocked, or perhaps like wet shale on a cliff disturbed by a trekker. There are two strong overtones: thick and tropic. Ironically, thick is etymologically unrelated but has some kinship with the sense, while tropic comes from the same Greek as Tropic of Capricorn but thixotropic has nothing much to do with tropical climates – unless you consider that guar gum is thixotropic, and guar grows in the tropics. Crosses and dots crop up on the page – two t’s, an x, and two i’s – but also round letters, two o’s and a c, plus a full ascender (h) and a descender (p). It’s like a thicket of ink with a dual nature. And if you shake the thicket? Ah, that’s the ticket. A thixotropic gel will become fluid when agitated and revert to gel when left to stand. More things have this property than you might think. Some flow in your body; some may stick to your boots. If you touch one, will you turn? It would be fitting – the word does come from Greek thixis “touching” and trope “turning.”
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