chalastic

Now, here’s a scholastic word for an elastic vocabulary. First thing to know about it is that we pronounce the ch as /k/. The rest of the pronunciation should be obvious (stress on the middle syllable, please). The sense is perhaps less so. Is there a savour of challah, or something cataskeuastic about it, or perhaps choleric, pyroclastic, or even cataclysmic? Hmm, rather not. Does it seems like a word that could be chic? Alas! That does not suit it to a t.

But if on the other hand it makes you cataplectic or acts as a laxative, well, congratulations: you have divined it. The word comes from Greek χαλᾶν khalan ‘relax’, from which issued χαλαστικός khalastikos ‘laxative’. So, yup, that Dulcolax you have in the cabinet is a chalastic – never mind the hard stops at front and back of the word /k/ /k/ that would seem to contain the liquid /l/ in the middle. But the other sense of it relates not to intestinal relaxation but to full-body loss of tone: cataplexy or sleep paralysis – in fact, sleep paralysis is sometimes called a post-dormitial chalastic fit. Which, honestly, is a bit of terminology that may induce its object.

3 responses to “chalastic

  1. Monroe Thomas Clewis

    “Elastic” which is similar to “chalastic” in both sound and meaning immediately comes to mind;however, it turns out there is no relation. “Elastic” derives from “Modern Latin elasticus, from Greek elastos, ‘ductile, flexible,'” according to Etymonline.com.

  2. Pingback: hypnopomp | Sesquiotica

  3. not sure what to reply on this one-a bit difficult to grasp.

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