Today’s Word Wednesday selection is penumbra, with an honorable mention to umbra. It’s one of many great words with scientific and literary common usages. A little about my friend (taken from the online Oxford English Dictionary):
Line breaks: pen|um¦bra
Pronunciation: /pɪˈnʌmbrə /
NOUN (PLURAL PENUMBRAE /-BRIː/ OR PENUMBRAS)
1the partially shaded outer region of the shadow cast by an opaque object.
1.1 Astronomy the shadow cast by the earth or moon over an area experiencing a partial eclipse.
1.2 Astronomy the less dark outer part of a sunspot, surrounding the core.
2a peripheral or indeterminate area or group:
an immense penumbra of theory surrounds any observation
Origin – mid 17th century: modern Latin, from Latin paene ‘almost’ + umbra ‘shadow’.
How I came across this word
One Friday late last fall my husband and I had a day. I don’t know how to explain it, but it made us wonder, “What is going on today?” It turned out to be a full moon, and although there’s no real scientific proof that a full moon makes stuff happen, we laughed. Not only was it a full moon, but it turned out to be a lunar eclipse, and more specifically, a penumbral eclipse. I had to look that up because I was extremely unfocused in my college astronomy class. It was kind of a hard time for us, as it was the last excruciating stretch of a hard couple of years, employment-wise, for us. The penumbral eclipse was a sign of hope in an opaque present and a new word I began to love.
With a solid job offer, he began to see what it would be like to live beyond the penumbra and it was a brilliant balm for a weary soul.
Now leave your sentence in the comment box below!
I took particular umbrage in efforts to push me into the spotlight, that hot light, preferring instead the relative comfort of the penumbra, my comfort zone that’s only close to the action.
Overachiever. Well done.