Word of the Week (138): SAPROPEL (probability 20273), by David Sutton

SAPROPEL is the name given to a slimy sediment laid down in water, primarily of organic origin. It derives from the Greek sapros, rotten + pel, clay.

The SAPRO- root will probably already be familiar to you from SAPROBE, an organism that lives in foul water, and SAPROPHYTE, a fungus or bacterium that feeds upon dead and decaying organic matter. It also gives us SAPREMIA (or SAPRAEMIA), blood poisoning resulting from the presence of toxins of saprophytic bacteria in the blood, and many longer words, of which you might just get to play SAPROZOIC, feeding on decaying matter, and SAPROLITE, a soft, partially decomposed rock that has remained in its original site.

The PEL- element is also found in PELITE, which is any rock formed from clay or mud, and its adjective PELITIC.

Incidentally, SAPROPEL has two anagrams. Which are?


© WESPA | Committees | Join WESPA | Contact Us | Credits