Lying on the table, stuck full of needles in a room painted soft peach, with monks softly chanting in the background, my mind wandered to the acupuncturist’s use of the word “labile” in our pre-treatment conversation and the realization that labile and labial were not the same word. While the needles worked (or didn’t) their magic, I pondered two other odd words I like to ponder: Hirsute and Hubris.
I’d finally looked those two up in the dictionary a few years ago. Hirsute, which so perfectly sounds like “Hair Suit;” is defined as “excessive hair.” While the definition of Hubris is “excessive pride,” Hubris always makes me picture ancient Egyptian gods and hieroglyphics. Maybe a Horus/Osiris/Hubris connection?
As soon as I got home I grabbed my sketchbook and introduced the two (above). Then I looked up Labile and Labial to see which was the right word when describing fluctuating energy level or emotions.
I was delighted to discover that Labial refers to Lips while Labile refers to Slips! (see the actual definition below).
Definition of Labile
Labile: Unstable, unsteady, not fixed. Labile comes from the Latin labilis, meaning liable to slip.
Definition of Labial
Labial: Pertaining to the lip. A sound requiring the participation of one or both lips is a labial (labium in Latin means lip) sound or, simply, a labial. All labials are consonants.
The word “lip” can be traced back to the Indo-European “leb” which also produced the Latin “labium” from which came the French “levre.” The German “lippe” is just a slip from the English “lip.”
I love words just as much as I love pictures!
5 replies on “Word Play: Hubris Meets Hirsute; Labial goes Labile”
And I love your labels,Jana!
Delightful! I see an entire book in your future.
Cute! Are you sure the guy on the right is really wearing that suit from humility? I’ve got a closet full of clothes like that, and it’s dog hair.
What a fun post. I can see that you love words. We sure need people like you to be able to work out all the details of words. Love that you are helping me understand what is in your head with the cartoons, too.
Wow – you are an excellent cartoonist! Thank you for the vocabulary lesson – I’ll never mix up those words again. And yes, Sherry is right, a whole book would be wonderful.