Friday, September 18, 2009

Word of the day

If you don't subscribe to Oxford English Dictionary's "word of the day," why not?

Today's word of the day is "tashlik."

tashlik, tashlich

(tæʃ'lik) [Heb. taʃ'līk 'thou shalt cast', future Hiphil of ʃālak to cast.]

A symbolical custom, popularly in vogue among Jews, of repairing, on New Year's Day, to a stream of running water, and repeating certain biblical verses indicative of sin and forgiveness, specially Micah vii. 19, 'Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea'.

1880 Jewish World 30 Sept., Tashlich...a simple fad of mediæval rabbinism, of late date and origin, and wholly unknown to our ancient sages. 1902 Daily Chron. 2 Oct. 7/1 They have imported with them from their native ghettos the singular practice known as 'Tashlikh', which is performed by the side of a stream of running water or on the seashore... A favourite resort for the purpose of 'Tashlikh' is the Custom House Quay, and the front walk of the Tower.

A few things are noteworthy here. First, although the OED gives "tashlik" as the primary spelling, it isn't used in either of the illustrative quotations. Second, the vowel given for the first syllable is æ, pronounced like the vowel in "back." Makes sense--these are the fellow countrypeople of the BBC announcers, who talk about Nicarægua. Third, the person writing for the 1880 Jewish World may have been right, but it's the place to meet and greet. Fourth, in the etymology, the OED uses a symbol regarding vowel length that I omitted since I can't figure out how to reproduce it. It looks like two solid triangles, one on top of the other, pointing at each other but not touching. If any of you can tell me how to reproduce that, I'd appreciate it.

The entire staff of Consider the Source wish all of our readers a shænah tovah--a healthy and happy year.


pseudomonas said...

ː (ː) (though this says "NB: there is a bug in some versions of MS IExplorer that causes this character not to display. It is probably best to use a simple colon instead.")

pseudomonas said...

Also, if you're using Firefox, this Greasemonkey script will convert all the OED pictorial nonsense to unicode for you; much tidier.


Michael Koplow said...

Thank you, pseudomonas.