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word of the day : incunabulum

incunabulum \ in-kyoo-NAB-yuh-luhm \ , noun;

1. The earliest stages or first traces of anything.
2. Extant copies of books produced in the earliest stages (before 1501) of printing from movable type.

Quotes:
Somewhere in the incunabulum of time the New Year lay awaiting birth. Outside, in the dark, and with none to call it friend, the old year was fading into death. -- Edwin Markham, The real America in romance, Volume 12

Every sane soul is an incunabulum -- David Graham, The grammar of philosophy: a study of scientific method

Origin:
Incunabulum derives, in the early printing press industry, from the Latin incuna , "to place a baby in a cradle."

Comments

( 3 worms — Feed the birds )
ellenlindner
17th Aug, 2010 21:08 (UTC)
Isn't that an amazing word? I stuck it in my comic because it's what Lord Peter Wimsey collects. Gotta give LPW a shout-out whenever possible.
andyluke
18th Aug, 2010 04:33 (UTC)
It is quite.
undyingking
18th Aug, 2010 08:15 (UTC)
I was disappoointed to learn that the name arises not because of some fancied resemblance between the pages and swaddling-clothes, or the press and a cradle, but just from a general metaphor meaning 'infancy' -- because this was the technique used in the infancy of book-making.
( 3 worms — Feed the birds )