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agglutinate

To agglutinate means to stick together to form what can be considered to be a single mass. It’s probably the foul mood I’m in, but congealed snot came to mind when I read that definition.

In the field of biology, agglutinate refers to the clumping together of bacteria or red blood cells. The dictionaries I’m using don’t provide any indication as to whether that is a good or bad thing.

This is a words project, not a medical project, so if you’re interested in the health benefit or harm of clumping bacteria or blood cells you’re going to have to look that up on your own. Of course, if you are not interested feel free to ignore it completely.

To linguisticians, to agglutinate is to combine words or parts of words without changing their form. The purpose of this sort of agglutinating is to express compound meanings or ideas.

I wonder if “bullshit” is an example of this. It takes bull and combines it with shit to form a concept that describes something that we hear far too often from salespeople and politicians. I would say also from marketers, but I’m a marketer and we never use bullshit. You heard it here first.

Agglutinate also means to cause to undergo agglutination. Agglutination is the next work in this project, so I’m not even going to think about this meaning further until I get to that entry.

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