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Howdy! It’s time for another Wacky Word Wednesday! As the summer comes to a close and the preparations for the Mid-Autumn Festival are in full swing over here at Simply CSOFT, we’ve picked a word well-befitting the impending season. Blown over from TermWiki.com, here’s this week’s word:

quo top

ae·o·li·an

[ee-oh-lee-uhn]

-adjective

pertaining to Aeolus, or to the winds in general.

quo botAeolian

The term aeolian, also spelled eolian, or æolian, is derived from the name of a Greek mythological figure, Aeolus. There are, in fact, three personages named Aeolus circulating in Greek mythology which even the ancient Greeks themselves couldn’t really tell apart. The most famous and the one related to this week’s word is the Aeolus who is also known as “the keeper of the winds.”

One of Aeolus’ appearances is in the Odyssey, in which he hosted the home-bound Odysseus, man of twists and turns, and his crew. He gave Odysseus a sack that contained all winds but the westerly. This way, a safe and steady journey back to good old Ithaca could be ensured. However, Odysseus’ greedy crewmembers opened the bag thinking it was filled with treasure and, consequently, unleashed a plethora of winds and years of misery on the war-weary bunch.

Nowadays, aeolian means ‘wind-induced’ and is most often used in the geomorphologic sense. Aeolian processes refer to the ways in which the wind shapes a planet’s surface (sometimes resulting in spectacular formations) next to other processes such as fluvial, glacial, or tectonic dynamics. Aeolian forces on other planets, such as Mars, are also subjected to study.

By comparison, the word has a wider usage as pertaining to wind in general in the Romance languages, for instance, the words for ‘wind energy’ are energia eólica in Spanish and énergie éolienne in French.

    • Thus, at low obliquity we might expect large-scale dust storms to cease, leading to relatively cold, clear conditions and relatively little aeolian transport of dust. (Peter L. Read and Stephen R. Lewis: The Martian Climate Revisited. 2004)
    • It would not be surprising if a few features — even very large ones — were sculpted by aeolian processes into the pyramidal forms we see. (Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. 1995)

 

We at Simply CSOFT wish you a fantastic week and hope to see you again for the next Wacky Word Wednesday!

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