Monday, February 27, 2023
From the Greek verb σταλάσσειν (stalássein), meaning “to drip,” came the adjective σταλακτός (stalaktós), meaning “dripping,” and the noun σταλαγμός (stalagmós), meaning “a drop.” The adjective gives us the English word stalactite, and the noun gives us stalagmite. Both of these types of cave formations grow from a slow process of dripping. But which is which? The Greek etymology won’t help you much, but this completely false etymology will: A stalactite hangs “tight” to the ceiling, and a stalagmite “might” someday reach the ceiling.