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my parents believed it would be a distraction from schoolwork and that black and white television technology would be superseded by colour.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.

Hannibal is famous for crossing the Alps with elephants.  But did you know that Solomon had a throne inlaid with ivory? 1 Kings 10: 18