||[Apr. 2nd, 2007|09:39 pm]
Is There Something You Want to Say to the World?
|||||Zelda crunching her bone||]|
Came across this word in a book I read recently, and thought it was just really cool. The book is Envisioning Information and the author is talking about strange bar graphs where the illustrator, instead of making the scale high enough for the tallest bar, just makes that bar snake up and down in the frame, so that the full length of the bar is there, but it's been forced to fit in too small a scale. (I tried to find an example pic, but couldn't.) Anyway, I had to go look this word up, and found out that....
Boustrophedon comes from the greek: βουστροφηδόν: "turning like oxen in ploughing"). Its etymology is from βους, "ox" + στρεφειν, "to turn" where bous is the oxen, and strophos or stropos is the "turning".
I've always liked that root -- tropos. Think plants and phototropism -- turning toward the light. Ever wonder what the TROPic of Cancer and TROPic of Capricorn are? These are the circles on the globe where the sun apparently "turns" (Tropos) at the solstices, and starts its trip back down in the sky as the seasons progress. Cool root.
Anyway, boustrophedon is apparently an ancient style of writing in manuscripts, where instead of starting each line on the left (or the right), the writing goes back and forth, like plowing a field.
That is my cool word of the day.