Lineament - liniment

From Hull AWE
Jump to: navigation, search

Lineament and liniment are two nouns. Neither is in very common use currently. They are nearly homophones. Their meanings are far apart, so do not confuse them.

  • A lineament is a line. In particular, it is the outline of a feature in a drawing, and so it is sometimes used to mean 'the visible parts of a face', in such phrases as when Jonathan Swift described a good man: "General benevolence for mankind, in every lineament of his countenance" ( Gulliver's Travels (1726) III. vii). So figuratively it can be used for "Distinctive features or characteristics" (OED) of anything, such as "the principal lineaments of the law of contract" (Stephen New Commentaries on the Laws of England (1845) II. 68, cited in OED).
  • Liniment is an ointment applied to relieve muscle pain, such as over-tiredness or bruising. It is commonly believed to smell unpleasantly, except among athletes, who relish the odour of turpentine etc by association with the comfort it brings.