Word of the Day : September 19, 2017
glabrous \GLAY-brus\ adjective
: smooth; especially : having a surface without hairs or projections
Unlike the fuzzy peach, the nectarine has a glabrous skin.
"[T]o augment the body's own ability to shed heat …, Roy Kornbluh and his colleagues … are focusing on the body's glabrous, or hairless, areas. In mammals, these parts act like a car radiator, helping heat escape from the surface. In humans, the palms of the hands and soles of the feet are vital." — Hal Hodson, New Scientist, 30 Jan. 2016
Did You Know?
"Before them an old man, / wearing a fringe of long white hair, bareheaded, / his glabrous skull reflecting the sun's / light…." No question about it—the bald crown of an old man's head (as described here in William Carlos Williams's poem "Sunday in the Park") is a surface without hairs. Williams's use isn't typical, though. More often glabrous appears in scientific contexts, such as the following description of wheat: "The white glumes are glabrous, with narrow acuminate beaks." And although Latin glaber, our word's source, can mean simply "bald," when glabrous refers to skin with no hair in scientific English, it usually means skin that never had hair (such as the palms of the hands).
Aired September 19, 2017
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