Word of the day

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lunula (noun) – A small crescent-shaped structure or marking, especially the white area at the base of a fingernail that resembles a half-moon.

Source : The Free Dictionary

Etymology : The uncommon noun lunula is restricted to anatomy, biology, and archaeology or art history. It?s a straightforward borrowing of Latin l?nula, literally ?little moon,? but meaning ?crescent-shaped ornament? (one of its senses in English). The only common meaning for this uncommon noun is the pale, crescent-shaped are at the base of a fingernail or toenail. L?nula is a diminutive of l?na ?moon,? which is disconcertingly similar to Russian lun? ?moon.? (The cognate Polish ?una means ?glow.?)

Both the Slavic and the Latin nouns derive from the same Proto-Indo-European source, louksn?, the same source as Avestan raoxshna- ?shining; a light.? (Raoxshna is also used as a proper female name that in Greek is rendered Rh?x?n? ?Roxane.? The ?original? Raoxshna/Roxane was a Bactrian princess born c340 b.c.; she married Alexander the Great in 327 b.c., and was poisoned in prison in 310 b.c.). Proto-Indo-European louksn? becomes in Old Prussian the plural noun lauxnos ?stars,? and Middle Irish luan ?moon.? All of these forms derive from the very common Proto-Indo-European root leuk- and its variants louk- and luk- ?light, bright.? Lunula entered English in the 16th century.

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