Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word:
As I struggle with the sinus infection that I have been battling for more than two weeks,* I offer you catarrh (pronounced kuh-TAR), the traditional word for the abundant production of mucus as a consequence of the inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose and throat.
It is a word that comes into English with a lng pedigree: the Old French catarrhe, the Latin catarrhus, and the Greek Katarrous, ultimately from the Greek katarrein, "to flow down."** We've had it (the word, not the cold) for centuries. The OED cites a translation of Bartholomew de Glanville De Proprietatibus Rerum of 1495: "Dissoluynge and shedynge thumours of the heed highte Catarrus."
Example: From Lester Bangs's review of Bruce Springsteen's first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., in 1973: "He sort of catarrh-mumbles his ditties in a disgruntled mushmouth sorta like Robbie Robertson on Quaaludes with Dylan barfing down the back of his neck."
*Please pass the tissues.
**Another tissue, please.