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September 08, 2016

Word Love Thread: Topography

And also open thread.

Earlier a commenter -- forget who -- brought up a couple of cool words I'd never heard about topography: holt and fell.

I love topographic words. Any time an author uses them, like copse or even something simple like treeline, I immediately think, "Oh shit, this guy knows what he's talking about. He's like Special Forces or something."

A couple I've looked up since I started to get into topographical words are draw and col.

One cool one I finally looked up -- after seeing the word a thousand times during my 29 years of life -- is savanna.

Know what it is? You probably sorta do but you probably can't exactly say, right?

It's got a definite and useful meaning -- it's between a grassland (barely any trees) and a forest (enough trees to form a canopy, or more-or-less unbroken forest ceiling). A savanna is a grassland with a fair number of trees but not enough to form any kind of canopy.

I think there's some strict definition for topographers, like it's a grassland if it's fifty or fewer trees per square mile, a savanna if it's fifty to three hundred trees per square mile, and a forest if it's more than that. (Don't hold me to those numbers. But somewhere out there there's a strict tree-count definition.)

That's why whenever you're watching a nature show and they're talking about the lions of the savanna you see just one damn tree in the shot with the lions.

Anyway, post your favorite obscure words, whether they have to do with topography or not, but I'd especially love to hear the topographical terms you know.

Oh, and open thread generally.

We've got a pile of unposted posts but I'll post them tomorrow. CBD's had one in draft for a couple of days. Tomorrow, promise.

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posted by Ace at 08:31 PM

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