Today’s Word: Stilliform

Lots of talk here in sunny San Diego about heavy rain on the way. I’m reminded of one of the most beautiful words in the English language: stilliform, or “drop-shaped.” It’s from Latin stilla, “drop,” and a relative of the drippy words distill (to “drip down”) and instill, “to put in drop by drop” — or as the OED puts it, “To introduce (some immaterial principle, notion, feeling, or quality) little by little into the mind, soul, heart, etc.; to cause to enter by degrees; to infuse slowly or gradually; to insinuate.” I love stilliform partly because those long, thin letters — the t-i-l-l-i-f in the middle — look kind of, well, drippy. (Or am I a drip for loving a word for the shape of its letters?)

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