Friday, October 8, 2010




1 : a representation of leaves, flowers, and branches for architectural ornamentation
2 : the aggregate of leaves of one or more plants
3 : a cluster of leaves, flowers, and branches

FOLIAGE is traced back to the French word foille, meaning "leaf." Foille also gave us foil. M-W's etymologist (for more insight on the lives of etymologists, see the colorful Take Our Word For It) chose to write about this in her daily blurb, illuminating for the reader on the debate surrounding the pronunciation of FOLIAGE, often butchered into FOH-lij or FOY-lij; the former may be a lazier slur of accent, while the latter clearer describes a different object. If I hear foilage (warning: not a real word), I think of some cheap, silvery decorative crap haphazardly strung around someone's porch railing at a sweet sixteen birthday party.

The word should also not be confused with foulage, a form of massage in which muscles are kneaded or pressed. Although wouldn't that be any massage?

Included in the top _____* reasons why I love fall, is not that the FOLIAGE is turning beautiful colors or leaves are covering the damp ground (although those do appear on the list), but that I love the sound of dried leaves crunching under my feet. Let me elaborate on the usage of the word "love," which I do not throw around with casualty. In this context, "love" refers to a feeling that hovers somewhere in the vicinity satiating hunger, while not quite making it to sexual gratification. I would describe it as primal. Yes. The satisfaction I get from the sound and feeling of a dead leaf crunchy under my sneaker is primal. I even sigh under my breath after a really good, crunchy one. I am also able to judge, by experience, how dry and crisp a leaf is going to sound. I haven't yet developed a method of measurement for this quality. Perhaps a scale of 1-10 would suffice, 1 being mushy or fresh, 10 being the driest, crunchiest leaf on the sidewalk, the Tostito** of dried leaves, if you will.

*I haven't yet fully organized this list, so I'm not sure of the exact location of "crunching leaves under my shoes," but it's safe to say it's definitely in the top ten, likely in the top five.
**I use "tostito" since it's a well-known reference, but Li'L Guy Foods out of Missouri claims to have Kansas City's crunchiest tortilla chip. They are also the Official Tortilla Chips of the Kansas City Chiefs. I'll have to look into this.

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