Repast and Repaste
The old-fashioned word repast, meaning a meal, is still used by modern speakers, but rarely and self-consciously. Its rarity may explain the fact that many writers who do use it don’t know how to spell it.
Here are some examples the misspelling of repast found in print and online:
• And don’t the Bedouin fry locusts in oil for a tasty repaste?
• we steered our sturdy craft to dock at a charming little riverside sandwich shop for a tasty repaste and a break from the ride.
• Two wild pigs provided a tasty repaste for about 25 folks
• enjoying a tasty repaste of four Quaker Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip granola bars
The spelling and pronunciation of the noun repast conform to modern English spelling conventions. The letter a between consonants represents the short vowel sound, /æ/ as in past. Adding an e to the end of the word changes the short a to a long a, /eɪ/ as in paste.
The spelling repaste does exist for two verbs.
1. repaste: verb. paste again.
Say you’ve made a collage by pasting flowers and leaves to a piece of cardboard. What do you do if it starts falling apart? You repaste the bits that have fallen off.
2. repaste: verb. replace the thermal glue between the CPU and the heatsink in your computer.
I’m on shaky ground here, but I’ll try to explain this one for fellow nongeeks.
While cruising the web looking for incorrect spellings of repast, I discovered that computer gamers are concerned about the necessity to “repaste.”
Computers contain something called a heatsink that draws heat away from the CPU (Central Processing Unit). The CPU and the heatsink are separated by a viscous substance called thermal grease or thermal paste that improves the efficiency of the heat sink by filling any tiny gaps that might exist.
As I understand it, computer gaming generates a lot of heat and sometimes the thermal paste dries up, becoming less effective. A gamer “repastes” by opening the computer, scraping off the dried paste and replacing it with fresh. Other terms for the viscous material are thermal gel, thermal compound, heat paste, heat sink paste and heat sink compound.
Bottomline: If you’re writing about food, spell it repast.
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