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One Strange Rock

One thing I really enjoy is when a word that I only know from scrabble, is actually used in some other setting.

I recently watched the first episode of a documentary series called “One Strange Rock” in which I learned that one of the most important organisms on our planet is the DIATOM. Diatoms are algae with distinctive cell walls made of silicon dioxide and they are responsible for producing a large part of the oxygen you are currently breathing. While trees do turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, a greater amount is produced by diatoms. We probably would not be here if they did not exist.

I knew the word, and have certainly played it a few times without knowing what it was, so I thought this blog should be about “One Strange Rock” and diatoms.

Firstly, a challenge for you:

How many 7 or 8 letter words can you think of that finish with the letters –ROCK. Answers at the end of the blog.

If you have the letters DIATOM plus a blank there are only five words:

A = DOMATIA A plant structure which harbours mites

C = COADMIT To admit several things equally

S = MASTOID A bump on the temporal bone behind the ear (also DIATOMS)

T = MATTOID A person on the borderline between sanity and insanity.

Hmmm…… MATTOID…… could that apply to anyone you know? :-)

Not many 7 letter words. Perhaps we could find something interesting if we looked at 8 letter words including the letters DIATOM:

AN = MANATOID Resembling a manatee (a type of sea cow)

CG = DOGMATIC Overbearing. DOGMATICS is OK. I wouldn’t have guessed that!

CI = DIATOMIC Composed of two atoms


EH = HEMATOID Resembling blood

EN = DOMINATE To control

NEMATOID Pertaining to intestinal parasitic worms

ER = MEDIATOR One who mediates


EZ = ATOMIZED To reduce to a fine spray

LP = DIPLOMAT Someone skilled in diplomacy

LS = MODALIST A believer in modalism. (Someone who sees the Father,

Son and Spirit as modes of being, not actual persons)

LY = MODALITY The state of being modal

MS = AMIDMOST In the very middle

MU = DOMATIUM Singular of DOMATIA. See the 7 letter words.

MN = DOMINANT A controlling genetic character

NS = DONATISM Tenets of donatists. Schismatic body of Nth African Christians

SAINTDOM The state of being a saint.



SY = TOADYISM Fawning or flattering behaviour

Having typed out the explanation for MODALIST, I am still not sure what it means. What exactly is a mode of being?

Diatoms – essential to your ability to breathe, but perhaps not to your ability to win a game of scrabble. Although you never know. After last week’s blog on wise words which included SIDEWISE and mentioned SIDEWAY/SIDEWAYS I went along to club on Monday night and played SIDEWAY. You never know when a particular group of letters is going to come your way.

How did you go with those ROCK words?

BEDROCK Rock underlying other consolidated material

CAPROCK A layer of rock over another layer

DEFROCK To deprive of ecclesiastical authority

LAVROCK A skylark (also see LAVEROCK)

MUDROCK Any rock derived from clay or mud

OUTROCK To surpass in rocking

PARROCK A small Scottish field (can be used as a verb, to put in a field)

PREROCK Before the advent of Rock music

RIMROCK An outcrop of resistant rock


TARROCK The young of the kittiwake gull before the first moult

UNFROCK To deprive of ecclesiastical authority

ANTIROCK Opposed to Rock music

DISFROCK To deprive of ecclesiastical authority

HARDROCK A tough, uncompromising man


MOONROCK A rock from the surface of the moon

SHAMROCK A plant with 3 leaves

TRAPROCK Any fine grained columnar igneous rock. Especially basalt

YELDROCK A bird more commonly called the yellowhammer

And to finish I offer you one really strange rock:

Imagine ROCK is already on the board and you are looking at ?DMNOOO.

You could make the blank another K and play KOMONDOROCK. Apparently it is a large, shaggy coated dog.... and that is not just a shaggy dog story!

Too exotic even for Nigel? Yes, I think so.

Maybe when we develop Nigel 2.0….. :-)



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