When was the last time you said, “Well, that’s chatoyant!” I’m guessing, not recently, if ever.
Hubby asked me this morning, out of the blue, how to spell chatoyancy.
I, being my always articulate self, said, “Huh?”
He said the word had just crossed his mind (he’s got to stop working so many crossword puzzles!) and he couldn’t picture how to spell it.
I told him I didn’t remember ever hearing that word. But he reminded me that years ago when he had given me an opal ring, I wore it to work and Art, a very well-spoken co-worker, told me the stone had beautiful chatoyancy. I remember now that I came home and told Hubby the word that Art had used to describe my opal. It made the stone sound soooo, special.
But I had long since forgotten the word, until Hubby brought it up this morning. So, we started trying to look it up in the dictionary — shitoyency, shytoyency, chytoyency, chitoyency, chetoyency, chytoiency, you get the idea. I’ve always said that using a dictionary has one major flaw — you have to have some idea of how to spell the word, in order to find it! And, I have to say, I am never impressed with Spell Check. I tried putting some variations into a text document and then used the Spell Check, and with each try it either suggested a really far out alternative word, or just said it had no suggestions.
But perseverance does pay off, and we finally found it.
chatoyant\sha-‘toi-ent\ n: [variation of the French word, chatoyer to shine like a cat's eye]: having a changeable luster or color with an undulating narrow band of white light (a chatoyant gem)
So, if you have a friend with an opal, look for a chance to use this word to impress her with your vocabulary!
And, if you happen to find a way to use it in another context, be sure to let me know. I’ll try to impress “Mr. Obscure Word” Hubby with it.