or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Chew On This

Here on Now Smell This they're talking about a new scent which contains notes of, among other things, mastic, and I looked it and instantly thought (and I'll bet you did, too), "'Mastic'. Now doesn't that look like 'masticate'?"

Mastic, according to Answers.com, is the "aromatic resin of the mastic tree, used especially in varnishes, lacquers, adhesives and condiments and as an astringent." This enviable versatility also extends to perfumery, where it adds an aroma similar to galbanum.

"Mastic" is unsurprisingly, related to "masticate": it, in fact, derives directly from it. "Masticate" means "to chew": it comes (filtered through Latin) from Greek "mastikhan", "to grind the teeth", which led to "mastikhe", "chewing gum", and since the ancient Greeks didn't have Chiclets or Dentyne, they chewed tree resin.

One of the commenters on Now Smell This asked, "Mastic? Isn't that a kind of glue?", to which the answer is, "Yeah, sorta." "Mastic" is synonymous with "caulking" and is used to describe modern, non-resinous caulking compounds: see?


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