June 05, 2016
talc (noun)
\TALCK\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a very soft mineral that consists of a silicate of magnesium, has a soapy feel, and is used especially in making talcum powder
How do you use it?
When we performed a test on the hardness of different minerals, talc was the only mineral we were able to scratch with our fingernails; the others required a penny or a steel blade.
Are you a word wiz?

From which of the following languages do you think we got the word "talc"?

We hope your word skills haven't gone soft and that you chose C, Arabic. Our word "talc" entered English in the early 1600s from French, but "talc" has a much longer history than that. We can trace it from French and Middle French to the Medieval Latin word "talc" or "talcum." (Medieval Latin was the Latin used for worship and literary purposes from the 7th to the 15th centuries.) That brings us to the ultimate ancestor of "talc" -- the Arabic word "talq."
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