Thursday, April 18, 2019

from weax to wax to mad honey

Having just completed mind-numbing work on the reference section of the print version of the wax book, I went downstairs to make a cup of tea. A day or so earlier I had started thinking the title of this never-ending tome should be just “Weax,” plain and simple, as it is the original word for wax, from way back when (it’s somewhere in the book), and of course then there would be a lengthy sub-title following, but, anyway, while waiting for the water to boil I wondered if “weax” were in that old 1924 dictionary I picked up quite by chance when buying that old bookcase a few months back. Alas, no. No “weax.” But wait a minute, the water’s not hot yet, let’s look up “wax.”
wax (waks), n. beeswax; any tenacious substance like beeswax; cerumen of the ear; rage: v.t. to smear, rub, or join, with wax: v.i. to increase in size; become.
From the New Dictionary of the English Language 1924 Edition.

And as long as I am here, have you heard about “mad honey”? There is what I believe to be an azalea in my front yard, so I googled it, of course, and on wikipedia found this:
In addition to being renowned for its beauty, the azalea is also highly toxic—it contains andromedotoxins in both its leaves and nectar, including honey from the nectar.[6] Bees are deliberately fed on Azalea/Rhododendron nectar in some parts of Turkey, producing a mind-altering, potentially medicinal, and occasionally lethal honey known as "mad honey".[7] According to the ancient Roman historian Pliny the Elder in his Natural History,[8] an army invading Pontus in Turkey was poisoned with such honey, resulting in their defeat.[9]
Now, if I were writing a book on honey, I would not leave that out. And I can think of a few other things one might do with “mad honey” . . .