I had an interesting question via email from a reader.
I suppose this has something to do with a) interest in the way people who speak different languages name the sounds animals make b) the coming of summer.
QUAERITUR: What is the Latin for the sounds crickets make?
In English we say, I think, that crickets "chirp".
But birds also "chirp". They tweet as well, which gave rise to my saying that I send out "pipata" via Twitter. (Latin pipata, or "tweets" from pipio "to twitter, chirp"). Follow me on Twitter, btw.
But crickets do something else.
In Latin a cricket is a gryllus or variously grillus. In Italian we still say grillo.
The preferred verb used by ancient writers (cf. Pliny, Catullus) for the chirping of a cricket is strideo. Grylli strident.
Your personal copy of the mighty Lewis & Short Dictonary divulges with just a few flips of its invaluable pages that strideo means "to make or utter any harsh, shrill, hissing, whistling, grating, or creaking sound; to creak, hiss, whizz, whistle, rattle, buzz".
The verb strideo calls to mind the harrowing image brought given us by the Lord Himself who said, of those who wind up on the wrong side of judgment, that they will wind up in a place where – in the darkness – there is the sound of weeping and stridor dentium… the creaking sound made when you grind your teeth together… very hard. Fletus et stridor dentium. Luke 13.
But back to our happy little crickets who strident all the time, and even tell us the temperature.
A cricket or grasshopper or cicacda, all of whom strident, are described in the act of chirping with the adjectives argutus… arguti, or even garruli. Garruli strident grylli, ut nobis de calore nuntient.
So, that, friends, is that about the sound crickets make in Latin.