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Five questions about unusual words – Quick Quiz answers

We asked you five quick trivia questions about unusual words. Here are the answers:

  1. Grilse
    This is the specific name given to an Atlantic salmon that’s returning to its home river after having spent its first winter at sea. They differ from multi-sea-winter (MSW) salmon only in size: having spent less time at sea, they tend to be smaller. Even so, a grilse returning to its river in the autumn can be up to 5-7 kg (12-15 lb) in weight.
  2. Hippophagy
    This comes from the Greek words ἵππος (hippos, ‘horse’) and φαγεῖν (phagein, ‘eat’) and means the eating of horse meat. Attitudes towards eating horse meat have varied wildly over geography and history; Pope Gregory III banned it in 732 because of its association with Pagan practices, but the ban was ignored in many Catholic areas (eg southern France, northern Spain and Italy). It’s possible that the British taboo against horse meat (except during wartime shortages) is because of ancient British worship of the fertility goddess Epona, who was the protectress of horses and who was paralleled by the better-known Rhiannon in Wales and Macha in Ireland.
  3. Kerning
    This has nothing to do with nuts. It’s the technical term for adjustments made to the distance between two glyphs (characters) in printed or screen text to make the text easier on the eye and thus more legible.
  4. Pleaching
    As it sounds so much like ‘bleaching’, you may have assumed it’s totally unrelated. You’re right. 🙂 It’s the craft of weaving together the live and dead branches of trees or shrubs planted in a line to train a hedge, eg along the walkways in an ornamental garden.
  5. Trub
    It’s the sediment that forms at the bottom of a fermentation vessel when ale is undergoing its initial (primary) fermentation, and is made up mostly of heavy fats, proteins and inactive yeast. It’s the equivalent of lees in wine-making.

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