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Word Play: Hubris Meets Hirsute; Labial goes Labile

Hubris, Hirsuit: Excess Pride, Excess Hair, ink & watercolor, 7x6"
Hubris Meets Hirsute, ink & watercolor, 7x6"

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.

Labile Labial, ink & watercolor
Labial Goes Labile, ink & watercolor

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!