I was startled to read the following in an article by Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen:
But China has angrily rejected all calls for dialogue, and Tibet’s hardline Communist Party chief [Zhang Qingli ] was quoted Wednesday in a particularly viscous attack on the Dalai Lama
The quotation left me picturing His Holiness covered with something like tar, awaiting the application of feathers.
Bodeen probably meant vicious.
vicious [vishus] – bad, villainous, reprehensible, mean, depraved, noxious, savage
Vicious comes from the Latin word Latin vitiosus, meaning ” full of faults, bad, corrupt.”
The word viscous, on the other hand, comes from a Latin word viscosus, meaning “full of birdlime.”
viscous [viskus] – viscid, gelatinous, gluey, sticky.
Syrup is viscous. Oil is viscous. (No oil in Tibet.)
While we’re at it, birdlime is a sticky substance smeared on a surface with the intention of catching birds. It was usually made of holly bark, but mashed up mistletoe berries work.
The lime in birdlime comes from a Latin verb meaning “to smear.”
The Bodeen article goes on to say that the Chinese government regularly insults the Dalai Lama as a matter of policy:
Critics say China fuels such anger [as provoked the recent demonstrations] through harsh restrictions on Tibetan culture and Buddhism — including routine vilification of the Dalai Lama, who is deeply revered by most Tibetans.
Which brings us to another V word.
vilification – The action of vilifying by means of abusive language.