Word of the Day : August 30, 2017

interstice

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noun in-TER-stus

Definition

1 : a space that intervenes between things; especially : one between closely spaced things

2 : a short space of time between events

Examples

"The vehicle of this affirmation—if indeed it is that—is a message that the Mara character writes on a scrap of paper and then jams into an interstice in an archway before painting over it, evoking a prayer wedged in the Western Wall." — Nick Pinkerton, Artforum, 6 July 2017

"You will find no wittily sardonic yet sympathetic aunts who happen to write fiction in the interstices of the day's other duties, no talented and unmarried daughters of deceased clergymen negotiating with London publishers from a Hampshire cottage." — Nicholas Dames, The Atlantic, September 2017



Did You Know?

You don't need to read between the lines to understand the history of interstice; its etymology is plain to see. Interstice derives from the Latin interstitium, which is itself formed from the prefix inter-, meaning "between," and -stes, meaning "standing." Interstices are the cracks and crevices of life, and the word is often used for both the literal and figurative gaps of the world. In modern uses, interstice can even refer to gaps in time or to special niches in the larger expanse of something else. Evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould used it, for example, to comment, "Dinosaurs held sway for 100 million years while mammals, all the while, lived as small animals in the interstices of their world."



Test Your Vocabulary

What verb can mean "to cause to permeate something by penetrating its interstices" or "to enter or become established in for subversive purposes"?

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