Rarely used words: cymotrichous

One of the wonderful things about English is that thanks to the host of languages it ‘borrows’ and derives words from, there is pretty much a word for everything. True, there are some facets of meaning that English cannot describe in a single word (such as the Pascuense word tingo, meaning “to gradually borrow items from somebody else’s house until they are left with nothing”), but with an estimated 1 million plus words in the English language, there’s usually a word to fit the occasion.

So it is when I wanted to describe “somebody with wavy hair” in a single word, and came upon the word cymotrichous (pronounced “sy-MO-trik-us”), which literally means “wavy-haired”. Like many other English words, it comes from ancient Greek: κῦμα (kuma, meaning “wave”), and τριχ- (trikh, a form of θρίξ (thrix), meaning “hair”).

Cymotrichous might not be a word that most people will have ever heard before, but that doesn’t make it any less legitimate!