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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.

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

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


( 3 worms — Feed the birds )
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.
18th Aug, 2010 04:33 (UTC)
It is quite.
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 )