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  • Paul Anthony Jones


(v.) to shine between

sunlight shining through the leaves of a tree

Popular on HH this week was the rare verb intermicate, meaning “to shine between”.

That’s a word that dates back to the mid seventeenth century in English; it was first recorded in Glossographia, a 1656 dictionary compiled by the early English lexicographer Thomas Blount.

The word itself has Latin roots: alongside inter, which meant “between” or “among” in Latin, is the Latin verb micare, meaning “to shine” or “sparkle”. Derived from the same root are the criminally underused adjectives micant and micacious, both of which mean “sparkling” or “glistening”, while the mineral mica is thought perhaps to be derived from a confusion of micare and mica, a Latin word for a crumb or tiny particle.

As well as meaning “to shine”, incidentally, micare also meant “to dart” or “move quickly” in Latin—and for that reason, a single beat of the pulse is sometimes known as a mication.

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