I came across this word that I hadn’t seen before today: terraphilbious.
Now, you’re probably saying the same thing that I did: I never heard that word before, but I could see this being an answer on Jeopardy! Of course, I googled it right away and was astonished that I couldn’t find any hits on it.
I couldn’t get a definition in any on-line resource and it was not until I reached out to one of my British friends who has access to Robert Cawdrey‘s 1604 ‘A Table Alphabeticall‘ in the Oxford library that I got a reasonable definition. For more information on this early dictionary, please check A Table Alphabeticall.
Terraphilbious is defined as that what loves life on land. In the early Middle Ages it was used as a somewhat ironic reference to the smallish landing vehicles that were used by the Vikings and Normans during their conquering raids.
Of course, astute readers immediately recognize that this definition has been replaced by amphibious these days. Part of the reason for this, my friend tells me, is that there was not enough love for life on land from most of the invading marauders to make the word believable.