Wednesday, July 1, 2015

New Word Wednesday: ort

Ort is one of my favorite short words. It's almost a rebus. A visual onomatopoeia. It looks like someone took a bite out of short and this little crumb of a word dropped down onto the page.

Which would be fitting, because an ort is a crumb, a little morsel or fleck of food left behind when the eatin's done. It's a Middle English word that came from Middle Low German via Middle-earth. Or something like that.

In short, I'm here to report that an ort is shorter than short.

If you feel the need to weigh your crumbs, the Scandinavians have just the thing for you: An ort is also a unit of weight.

According to Webster's New International Dictionary, 2nd Edition, an ort is
  • in Denmark,  1/1000 of a pund, or .0011023 lbs.
  • in Sweden, 1/100 of a skalpund, or .00937 lbs.