Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Opitsah

OPITSAH

[o'-pit'-sah] — noun.

Meaning: A knife; dagger; razor; something sharp

Origin: Chinook óptsakh "a knife"

Illustrating the flexibility and poetic nature of the Jargon, the word for knife forms the bases of many other words and terms within Chinook Wawa. While a fork was sometimes called “lapooshet”, it was usually addressed as “opitsah yakka sikhs” (the knife's friend) or “opitsah yaka tillikum” (the friend of the knife), an expression also used to mean "beloved" or "sweetheart" in the sense that love "cuts to the heart", or that "every knife has its fork". In a more general sense, it also refers to the fact that a woodsman survives by his knife, therefore his “opitsah sikhs” ("knife-friend") is someone he can't live without, be it partner, best friend, or lover.