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Word of the Week (170): MUNDUNGO (probability 36345), by David Sutton

MUNDUNGO (or MUNDUNGUS) is defined as 'a foul-smelling tobacco'; the word comes from the Spanish mondongo, black pudding. The definition may be a little mystifying to the MISOCAPNIC among us, to whom all tobacco smoke seems pretty foul anyway: in my view one of the great advances of the last thirty years is that it is no longer seen as socially acceptable to louse up someone's personal space with the noxious fumes of one's carcinogenic drug of choice, though equally a strong libertarian instinct inhibits me from protesting when anyone still does.

Be that as it may, the vice does provide us with some quite useful words for Scrabble. Other kinds of tobacco include LATAKIA, a superior quality of Turkish smoking tobacco, taking its name from the place where it was produced, the ancient Laodicea; CANASTER, a roughly broken kind of tobacco taking its name from the rush basket (in Spanish canasta) in which it was originally imported; CAVENDISH, tobacco moistened and pressed into cakes, possibly taking its name from the original manufacturer; PERIQUE, a strongly flavoured tobacco from Louisiana, possibly after the nickname of a grower; VIRGINIA, a type of flue-cured tobacco grown originally in Virginia; CAPORAL, a strong dark French tobacco; and BURLEY, a thin-leaved American tobacco, though this last is more usefully remembered as a verb meaning to scatter bait on water.

Finally note that TOBACCO itself can take plural TOBACCOS or TOBACCOES, and can be shortened to BACCO (BACCOS or BACCOES) or BACCY. ANTITOBACCO and TOBACCOLESS are also good - hooray!


   













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