July 08, 2016
- abalone (noun)
- What does it mean?
- : a mollusk with a flattened slightly spiral shell that has holes along the edge and is lined with mother-of- pearl
- How do you use it?
- Dina's favorite purchase from the craft fair is a unique set of silver jewelry inlaid with abalone.
- Are you a word wiz?
What language do you think lies at the root of "abalone"?The pearl in this collection is C. The word "abalone" was borrowed into English in the mid-1800s from American Spanish, the Spanish spoken in North, Central, and South America and the West Indies. Spanish-speakers in California called the creature "abulÓn," having borrowed the name from Rumsen, the language of the Native American people of the Monterey Bay area. In Rumsen, the word was "aulon." Other words that came to English by way of Spanish American from languages of Native Americans include "chuckwalla," the name of a large desert-dwelling lizard, and "poncho," the word for a blanket with a slit in the middle so that the blanket can be slipped over the head and worn as a sort of cloak.