limn

film dim lyrical

Sesquiotica

Limn? Damn! How are we to say this word? And why does it have that form? It looks all folded up, like a stack of sheets turned on its side, or perhaps a shelf of library books. Can we illuminate this a bit? Has it been milled down to some minimal form from some larger animal, or has it grown an extra limb? Are we seeing a word in a liminal form, or is this lexical sediment?

To start with: You don’t say the n. It’s just there for looks. This word is pronounced the same as limb, which may well be one reason it’s not used much anymore.

Is it related to limen and liminal, those words relating to thresholds (threshold, by the way, is a word that compensates for silent letters by having a sound that is not written in – the…

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