Wednesday, January 25, 2012


TileHead’s Word of the Day for 25 January 2012

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DOLMEN  (n. pl. -S)

  1. (n.) a prehistoric monument, especially one consisting of two or more upright stones supporting a horizontal one
  2. (n.) any megalithic burial chamber 

Useful information for game players:
  • Front hooks: (none)
  • Back hooks: -S
  • Anagrams: (none)
  • Longer extensions: dolmenIC
  • Wraparounds: (none)
  • Other Spellings: (none)
  • Related Forms: DOLMENIC (adj.)

Celtic people of ancient Europe were fond of stone monuments.  The proof is in the surviving structures themselves as well as in the surviving words about them.  The word DOLMEN is probably from Cornish tolmen (“hole of stone”) or from Breton taolvean (“table stone”).  CROMLECH, one of a group of prehistoric monuments arranged in a circle around a mound (but, confusingly, also sometimes used as a synonym for DOLMEN), comes from the Welsh crwmllech (“curved stone”).  And MENHIR, a single upright prehistoric monument, comes from the Breton menhir (“long stone”).  The relationship among these words may be quite close indeed: Cornish, Breton, and Welsh are distinct languages, but they are all believed to have come from a common “proto-Celtic” tongue.

If you find the distinctions among the above terms too subtle, you can always opt for more general terms such MEGALITH (a large stone) or MONOLITH (a single stone), both of which are formed of Greek elements.

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