Thursday, December 17, 2015

Word of the day: littoral

The word of the day is littoral:

  1. of or pertaining to the shore of a lake, sea, or ocean.
  2. (on ocean shores) of or pertaining to the biogeographic region between the sublittoral zone and the high-water line and sometimes including the supralittoral zone above the high-water line.
  3. of or pertaining to the region of freshwater lake beds from the sublittoral zone up to and including damp areas on shore. Compare intertidal.


  1. a littoral region.
1656, from L. littoralis "of or belonging to the seashore," from litus (gen. litoris) "seashore" (cf. Lido), of unknown origin. The noun is first recorded 1828, from It. littorale, originally an adj., from L. littoralis.


"If McNeill were writing A World History today, discoveries like those at Huaricanga would force him to add two more areas to his book.  The first and better known is Mesoamerica, where half a dozen societies, the Olmec first among them, rose in the centuries before Christ.  The second is the Peruvian littoral, home of a much older civilization that had come to light only in the twenty-first century."

 - Charles Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

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