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Sat Feb 2, 2013, 08:26 AM

It's not 'whale vomit', it's ambergris. It's a nice word, and useful, so let's use it

It's condescending and banal to reach for simpler, less accurate words for something when perfectly good ones already exist
Deborah Orr
The Guardian, Friday 1 February 2013

Ambergris is a beautiful and long-established word for a strange and unusual substance, produced in the digestive system of sperm whales, and eventually excreted through one of only two possible exits. It has been used since ancient times in the manufacture of perfume. So it's rather a shame that the media now prefers to refer to it as "whale vomit" or, for a bit of variation, "whale poo" as if the world is a kindergarten. It has been in the news because Ken Wilman found a lump while walking on the beach with his dog. Unlike whale vomit or whale poo, it's valuable.

So, if you're of a romantic nature, but for some reason unable to say "amber" or "gris", you can opt for "floating gold". And ... you can refer to gold as "ground riches", in case anyone in your audience is three.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/02/whale-vomit-ambergris-words

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Reply It's not 'whale vomit', it's ambergris. It's a nice word, and useful, so let's use it (Original post)
struggle4progress Feb 2013 OP
Ian David Feb 2013 #1
Throckmorton Feb 2013 #4
Recursion Feb 2013 #5
Xipe Totec Feb 2013 #2
IADEMO2004 Feb 2013 #3
Recursion Feb 2013 #6
SidDithers Apr 2013 #10
OswegoAtheist Feb 2013 #7
BlueMTexpat Feb 2013 #8
ironflange Feb 2013 #9

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 08:35 AM

1. He who controls the ambergris controls the Universe! n/t

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Response to Ian David (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:44 PM

4. The ambergris must flow.

Fear is the little death

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Response to Throckmorton (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:38 AM

5. The whale is the ambergris. The ambergris is the whale.

It's not the same without Patrick Stewart with a mullet, though.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:40 AM

3. Only people in my social circle that know what ambergris is

are the ones that read Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. I read it after watching my wife laughing her ass off a few evenings.

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Response to IADEMO2004 (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:40 AM

6. It comes up in the Patrick O'Brian "Master and Commander" novels

They keep looking for some but only find rocks.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #6)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 11:00 PM

10. Another Patrick O'Brian fan here...



Listened to all 21 audiobooks last year, narrated by Simon Vance. A truly fantastic way to experience the books.

And then I went online and managed to find an old copy of this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Lobscouse-Spotted-Dog-Gastronomic-Companion/dp/0393320944

O'Brian wrote in detail about the meals that were eaten by the officers and seamen of the time. My wife thinks I'm crazy, but I want to try making some of the dishes so eloquently described in the novels.

Cheers
Sid

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:54 AM

7. Melville describes it in great detail in "Moby Dick" IIRC.

Oswego "Of course, he describes EVERYTHING about whaling in great detail in that book." Atheist

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:31 AM

8. I LOVE every response in this thread so far!

Where, oh where are the DUzys? I miss them so much!

But with so many talented DUers, it is indeed a Herculean task to take on.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:05 PM

9. I never found any yellow rocks on the beach at Xmas time

Just lots and lots of those little blue balloons.

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