Are you a Galanthophile? Or perhaps a Lexophile?


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Are you a Galanthophile? Or perhaps a Lexophile?

“Oxford Dictionaries Online’s word of the day a few days ago (sign up here) was galanthophile, which means ‘a collector of, or expert in, snowdrops’, Galanthus being the genus name of the snowdrop. The first part of the word comes from the Greek word for milk, γάλα (gala), and so, interestingly, does the word galaxy, which, more precisely, is from the Greek for ‘milky circle’ or ‘milky one’. Originally, galaxy referred to the Milky Way alone; according to the OED, “The existence of galaxies as separate systems analogous to and outside of the Milky Way system was proposed in the 19th cent. but not proved until the first meaningful determinations of the distances of galaxies by E. P. Hubble in the 1920s.”. The classical Latin lact- meaning milk, is related.” (By courtesy of The virtual linguist.).

Most interesting! Now let’s come back to ‘galanthophile’.

The second part of the word means ‘lover of’ or ‘enthusiast for’ and comes from Greek -philos, as everybody already knows, and if you happen to be a ‘bulbophile’ like me, then read on.

I admit that I’m neither an expert in nor a collector of snowdrops, but I do love these delicate harbingers of spring. They grace my garden in the month of August and remind me of the advent of springtime in March back in my old home.

Jingle jangle

Snowdrops dangle

Sings the springtime breeze

So long! Goodbye, winter freeze!


But are they true snowdrops? I mean the ones in my garden.

To my great astonishment I discover on Google that the ‘snowdrops’ which grow in my garden are actually ‘snowflakes’ or Leucojum aestivum. You can check out this link if you don’t believe me:

In short, snowflakes (but you can keep calling them snowdrops because everybody does) are much taller than snowdrops and have more than one flower per stem, and I think they are much prettier, as their petals are adorned with a green spot on the end. They prosper well in Sydney and many parts of Australia while snowdrops like a colder climate in southern parts and in New South Wales in the Blue Mountains.

So, having studied this subject in some depth, I can now conclude that I am not only a ‘galanthophile’, remembering the pretty flower of my childhood, but definitely a ‘leucojumophile’ since the snowflakes in my garden put a smile on my face.

And I guess, I’m a bit of a lexophile into the bargain.

What about you? What kind of ‘phile’ are you? Remember, learning new words keeps your brain cells in good nick.

Cheers 🙂 Irina


© Copyright 2016 Irina Dimitric

About irinadim

Kookaburra sweet, you neither chirp nor tweet. Your laughter is much like mine, my cackle is much like thine. We are two sister souls, one clad in feathers, the other in clothes. ~ Irina ~ I’m a budding blogger. Poetry and photography are my newest passions, living in perfect harmony inspiring each other. I like both free verse and form poetry and am quite proud to let you know that I am the creator of a new form named ‘tercetonine’. Blog Name: Irina's Poetry Corner Blog URL:
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4 Responses to Are you a Galanthophile? Or perhaps a Lexophile?

  1. bernard25 says:

    Bonjour IRINAS

    Mes vacances sont terminées

    Je viens faire un petit passage dans ton univers

    Mais avant je veux te dire que

    Tes petits messages sont comme la flamme d’un feu de bois

    Qui dans mon cœur , me mets de la joie

    Ton amitié est une étoile qui brille dans le ciel

    Elle est éternelle

    Passe une très bonne et belle journée

    Gros bisous Bernard.

    Je remercie tous ceux et toutes celles qui sont passées sur mon blog pendant le période de mes vacances

    J’espère que toi aussi tu as passé un bon mois d’aout et que tu es en pleine forme

    Bisous Bernard

    Passe une très belle journée

  2. milliethom says:

    How interesting, Irina. I confess, I’ve never heard of snowflakes (as flowers, that is 🙂 ). I knew that Galanthus was the genus name for the snowdrop family and that’s about as far as my knowledge went, until now. Thank you for the links, too. I found the derivation of Galanthus really interesting, especially in relation to the word galaxy.
    The ‘snowflakes’ in your garden look wonderful and I can imagine how much you’re all looking forward to spring. Over here, autumn won’t be long and I confess to being glad this summer’s almost over. We’ve had a really dreary one where I live – far too many grey and very windy days, with little sun at all. Further south has been better, I believe. So, all in all, I’m looking forward to next spring, too!
    I think I’m a bibliophile, amongst other things. 🙂

    • irinadim says:

      Hello, Millie. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I’d never heard of snowflakes before I started growing them 5 years ago and then found on Google the difference between snowflakes and snowdrops. Even my gardener seemed surprised because everybody refers to both flowers as snowdrops.
      I’m sorry to hear your summer weather wasn’t very pleasant. It’s a long wait to next spring so I hope autumn brings along calmer days. As a bibliophile you probably look forward to winter and a cosy spot near the fireplace with your favourite book. Have a great week, Millie! :)

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