A pachyderm is a thick-skinned animal. An elephant, a hippopotamus and a rhinoceros are all pachyderms. The word has its origins in Greek. Derma means skin. The rest of the word comes from the Greek for thick.
I first came across the word pachyderm in my early teens. We did not have a television as my parents believed it would be a distraction from schoolwork and that black and white television technology would be superseded by colour. When that happened they would reconsider. So when I had finished my homework, I read the dictionary for fun!
I read plenty of other books too, but I liked to do a trail through the dictionary, where I looked up a word, sometimes at random. If there were unknown words in the definition, I looked them up next.
And I discovered pachyderm.
One English lesson our teacher asked us to write down a word on a slip of paper. Guess what I wrote! The slips were handed in and given out to other girls in the class. The idea was to talk for a set length of time about the word on the paper. It was hardly surprising that the recipient of mine had no idea what it meant! She made a valiant attempt speculating on what it might be. I hope it was harmless mischief on my part.
With wordpress choosing it as the name for a theme, I think pachyderm will be a better known word than ever before. It won’t be necessary to be a dictionary-reader to understand it. (Now you only need to read this post!!)
I don’t think a post about pachyderms would be complete without an elephant joke. Here is one I remember from primary school.
What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence?
Time to get a new one.
In a post on my other blog I mentioned how glad I am that it is no longer legal to hunt elephants for their ivory tusks.