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August 09, 2011

Word of the Day

  • diluvial
  • audio pronunciation
  • \duh-LOO-vee-ul\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: of, relating to, or brought about by a flood
  • EXAMPLES

Archeologists studying diluvial deposits found along the river delta could make estimates from that evidence on just how far certain Paleolithic species had migrated.

"When regions were drained after long-standing inundations they had accumulated rich diluvial and alluvial soil valuable for growing a wide variety of crops and also for pasturage for sheep, cattle, goats and horses." -- From Joseph Roisman and Ian Worthington's 2010 book A Companion to Ancient Macedonia

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Late Latin "diluvialis" means "flood." It’s from Latin "diluere" ("to wash away") and ultimately from "lavere" ("to wash"). English "diluvial" and its variant "diluvian" initially referred to the Biblical Flood. Geologists, archaeologists, fossilists, and the like used the words, beginning back in the mid-1600s, to mark a distinct geological turning point associated with the Flood. They also used "antediluvian" and "postdiluvian" to describe the periods before and after the Flood. It wasn’t until the 1800s that people started using "diluvial" for floods and flooding in general. American educator and essayist Caroline M. Kirkland, one early user of this sense, wrote, "Much of our soil is said to be diluvial -- the wash of the great ocean lakes as they overflowed towards the south," in her essay Forest Life in 1850.

Word Family Quiz: What 6-letter relative of "diluvial" can mean "a drenching rain" or "an overwhelming amount or number"? The answer is ...

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