in Wacky Word Wednesday

Fabiform – Wacky Word Wednesday

Hey, hey! It’s time again for Wacky Word Wednesday, a weekly celebration of some of the wackiest and most interesting words from around the world.

Today’s wacky word is: fabiform.

The definition from

quo top




kidney-bean shaped

quo botFabiform

Fabiform comes from a combination of faba, the Latin word for broad bean, and fōrma, the Latin word for figure, model, or mold. Used primarily in botany to describe the shape of various legumes, lichens and creepers, it’s pretty straightforward as far as etymology is concerned.

Because b’s and v’s like to play the dialectal equivalent of musical chairs between Romance languages, the Latin word faba is actually linguistic cousins with the Italian word for broad beans, fava. So the name fava beans—a finger-licking favorite snack of Hannibal Lector from Silence of the Lambs—actually means “bean beans.” Now, we’re not ones to judge the idiosyncracies (or downright redundancy) of language here, but viewed in this light, the famous line “I ate his liver with some bean beans and a nice chianti” does lose a bit of its creepy ambiance.

In any case, did you ever notice how, when you learn about something new, you suddenly become hypersensitive to its presence everywhere? It’s almost as if the thing or concept only came into existence after your having learned it.

When we came across fabiform, it occurred to us that we never really knew a word for describing things shaped like a bean. But once we learned a word for it, we suddenly realized that there is quite a bit of fabiform paraphernalia out there—like kidneys, for example, or desks, or the heads of newborn babies. And now there’s a word for it! So we’d like to pass on the curse of descriptive accuracy to you, our beloved, logophilic readers.

For your reference, here are a few examples of fabiform used in a sentence:

  • As a self-proclaimed epicure, Henry liked his wine dry and his beans properly fabiform. So when the waiter brought out a plate of deformed legumes, Henry dashed them against the wall with a scowl, and declared the dish a gastronomical flop.
  • Janice could never quite put her finger on what was so strange about her husband’s face until that fateful day when, viewing his profile in just the right light, she realized that his nose was not a nose, but really a fabiform abomination of human physiognomy.

What kind of  fabiform objects and/or body parts have you seen lately? (Try and keep it clean… or at least only mildly suggestive.)

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