Daily Archives: April 25, 2009


This is not a word for a female keeper of cicadas. And although, with its buxom matching c‘s and cross-tied x at the end (and two posts of i‘s to tie the outsides of the word to), this word may seem suited to a dominatrix (it has such a nice whip-crack to it, too, with its [s-k-tr-ks] bouncing the tongue back and forth), it is a word of another stripe: perhaps a stripe left by the dominatrix’s whip, perhaps a claw mark from the cat in its midst. Whatever it is, x marks the spot – where the stitches went in. If you’re sick o’ tricks, I don’t mean to give you a scare; I just mean to give you a scar. And a Latin one at that, the spelling unchanged (though in classical Latin the c‘s were pronounced [k]). The more modern mutated version is cicatrice, taken from the French; we can use it too, though the x has been excised and the curly ending stitched on in a trice.