tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Suez Canal marks sesquicentennial with excuse to use the word 'sesquicentennial'

Egypt's Suez Canal is celebrating its 150th birthday this year, or more accurately its 150th conception day (since construction began in 1859 but the famous canal was not finished until 1869, meaning we'll probably have another sesquicentennial in 2019). Nevertheless, congratulations old friend, may you live to see 150 more.

Great moments in the history of the Suez Canal: 1869 BCE, when Pharaoh Senusret first came up with the idea to build the canal; 1869 CE, when Egyptian forced laborers under British command completed the 192-km waterway and the first boat completed the journey; 1956, when Egyptian revolutionary Gamal Abd al-Nasser nationalized the canal leading to a war of Britain, France and Israel versus Egypt; and 1973, when Egyptian military engineeers, during another war with Israel, displaced occupying Israeli soldiers on the east bank of the canal by shooting water at them via cannons feeding from the canal.

Also celebrating a sesquicentennial in 2009: Oregon, A Tale of Two Cities, Big Ben, Queensland, the Titusville oil well, The Origin of Species, Billy the Kid, the Victoria Pioneer Rifle Company, and the Pig War (which ended in 1871, but not necessarily to everyone's satisfaction).

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