Word of The Day for Thursday, September 23, 2010


ru•gose   \ˈrü-ˌgōs\   adj


1.  full of wrinkles
2.  having the veinlets sunken and the spaces between elevated

rugosity noun


Synonyms: cockled, corrugated, folded, furrowed, lined, puckered, wrinkled , rugous, rumpled, unironed, withered
Related Words: corrugate

• In this clay can be found rugose corals and spiky trilobites
• First infection of rugose mosaic and leaf roll on potato has been observed generally by the last week of December until the second week of January, depending upon locality and variety.


Latin rugosus full of wrinkles, folds or creases, from ruga wrinkle; wrinkle; crease, small fold

First Known Use: 1676

Sources: Thesaurus.com,  Merriam-Webster, My Etymology

Why This Word:

When we think of wrinkled, we think of something old, damaged, something that was once smooth and that we would prefer would be still: wrinkled paper, clothing, skin. Wrinkle itself comes from an original Proto-Germanic root meaning defect, problem. In our youth obsessed culture any of the signs of senescence will surely be problematized. So wrinkle is not just an adjective describing a state of being, but a verb, describing a process. Wrinkle happens to something.

But I love rugosa roses. They're hardy, grow on their own root stock, salt resistant and, while not as showy as the floribundas, surely put on a better show than many of the flowering shrubs that would grow in like conditions. They take their names from their rugose leaves. Not wrinkled by age, but by design, and all the more beautiful for it.

If you hear the word rugose used, it's probably in connection with the roses or corrals. This desuetude, however, means that rugose does not carry the cultural baggage of wrinkled, providing us a way to describe the texture without the judgment.

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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