Word of the Week (237): BOGHEAD (*new CSW15*) (probability 13822), by David Sutton

Now there's a nice foursquare new word for us to savour, not like all this ephemeral Internet rubbish. BOGHEAD as in boghead coal, also known as TORBANITE, a variety of coal from which paraffin oil can be derived. Note that it is adjectival only: no BOGHEADS*. It takes its name from the village of Boghead in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, and torbanite also has Scottish roots, being named after Torbane Hill near the Scottish town of Bathgate.

There are plenty of other COALY words. WALLSEND refers to coal of a certain quality and size, originally dug near the town of Wallsend in the north-east of England, which takes its name from its position at one end of Hadrian's Wall. CANNEL is a dull coal that burns with a smoky luminous flame, and takes its name from a dialect word for candle. LIGNITE is brown coal, that represents an intermediaqte stage in the decomposition of vegetable matter into proper black coal. MELLITE is a honey-coloured mineral associated with lignite, assumed to be formed from plant material with aluminium derived from clay.

VITRAIN is another type of coal whose combustion leads to ash that yields germanium compounds. CLARAIN refers to the lustrous, brightly coloured bands found in some types of coal. TUMPHY is a kind of coaly fireclay; it can also mean a blockhead. BLACKBAND is a kind of iron ore that contains enough coal to calcine it. DYSODIL (or DYSODILE or DYSODYLE) is an impure earthy or coaly bitumen, which emits a highly fetid odor when burning.

The occupation of mining has of course its own specialist vocabulary: we'll look at those words next time.


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