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Here’s a word that’s not in the Oxford Dictionary because it’s now considered obsolete but, as Oxford University Press has a habit of somewhat arbitrarily removing words from its dictionaries (since 2007 it was deleted words like ‘buttercup’ and acorn’ from its Junior Dictionary) and replacing them with modern lingo (like ‘cut-and-paste’ and ‘analogue’), I’m doing my bit to revive words before they’re forgotten.

171203 Psithurism (1)

Psithurism, then, is a noun used to describe the sound of rustling leaves. It is, apparently, an adaptation of the Ancient Greek ψιθύρισµα (psithurisma) or ψιθυρισµός (psithurismos), which are derived from ψιθυρίζω (psithurizō, meaning ‘I whisper’) and from ψίθυρος (psithuros, meaning ‘whispering’ or ‘slanderous’). Can you hear them rustling? And, here’s a little test: what’s the word for leaves like these that wither but stay attached to the stem?

171203 Psithurism (2)

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