WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2022
the raised part of a sundial that casts the shadow; a style.
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WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF GNOMON?
Gnomon “the raised part of a sundial that casts the shadow” is a borrowing by way of Latin gnōmōn from Ancient Greek gnṓmōn “interpreter, discerner.” From there, gnṓmōn is derived from the verb gignṓskein (stem gnō-) “to know, perceive, judge,” and the stem gnō- also appears in other Ancient Greek-origin terms such as agnostic (literally “without knowledge”) and diagnosis (literally “means of discernment”). Because Ancient Greek and Latin are distantly related, Latin contains numerous words related to knowledge that also feature the telltale gn- element, including cognitive (“learned”), incognito (“unknown”), ignorant (“not knowing”), and recognize (“know again”). Gnomon was first recorded in English in the 1540s.
HOW IS GNOMON USED?
The pork clock was excavated in the 1760s from the ruins of the Villa dei Papiri, a grand country house in the Roman town of Herculaneum. Early scholars were quick to realize that the unprepossessing object was a sundial, though some experts argued that it was modeled after a water jug rather than a ham …. The original clock is missing its gnomon, the part of a sundial that casts a shadow, but an 18th-century museum curator described it having one in the shape of a pig’s tail…TRACI WATSON, “ANCIENT SUNDIAL SHAPED LIKE HAM WAS ROMAN POCKET WATCH,” NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, JANUARY 19, 2017
Though not exactly a clock, the Samrat Yantra—or supreme instrument—is the largest sundial in the world, measuring more than 88 feet in height. Made of marble and local stone with a gnomon that stands at 90 feet, this time-keeping attraction can tell accurate time, with just a two-second margin of error, day or night.“TRAVEL PICKS: TOP 10 CLOCKS AROUND THE WORLD,” REUTERS, APRIL 5, 2013
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