Daily Archives: November 2, 2008

mandible

It may sound to some like a liturgical vestment, but if a man dribbles, this is where it happens. The nasals and voiced stops give a taste of nummy and nibble as well as assorted other ible suffix words (dirigible, runcible) and ibble words (kibble, Tribble), and even other lip rubbers like bubble and double double. The shape of the word doesn’t suggest a jawbone – it’s like a half-mown lawn, with the low nasal beginning followed by the ascenders and dot with the stops and liquid. Perhaps in the lawn is a mantis masticating an ant… Or we could say manducating, a rare word that comes from the same Latin source as mandible. Given that manducate has been used in particular in eucharistic context, it does seem apposite for a praying mantis… Perhaps the mantis is also wearing a maniple and a chasuble. But at any rate it’s chewing with its mandibles.