All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.
An ‘eavesdrop’ is the spot by a house where water falls off the roof, and also the spot to stand in to hear what’s going on inside.
The word 'stalactite' is from the Greek stalaktos, 'dripping', as opposed to stalagmos, 'dropping', whence we get ‘stalagmite’. Both words have a common root, stalassein, meaning ‘to trickle’. They are formed from the slow accretion of calcium carbonate as mineral-laden droplets of water ooze through a rocky roof and fall onto a cave floor.
There are many useful mnemonics for remembering which is which. For example:
(a) Stalactites have to hang on tight so they don't fall, whereas stalagmites might reach the ceiling if they keep growing
(b) The 'c' in stalactite is for 'ceiling, whereas the 'g' in stalagmite is for 'ground'.
The stalactites in the Gruta Rei do Mato took between 18 and 20,000 years to form. One of them is named ‘Cenorão’ (‘big carrot’), while another is called ‘Sorvetão’ (‘ice cream’).
‘Pitch’ is the name for any one of a number of liquids, such as bitumen, which are so viscous that they appear to be solid.
An experiment has been running in Brisbane since 1927 to record the rate at which pitch drips. The pitch was warmed and poured into a glass funnel, with the bottom sealed. Three years were allowed for the pitch to consolidate, and in 1930 the sealed stem was cut. From that date the pitch has been allowed to flow out of the funnel and a record kept of the dates when drops fell. There has been about one drop every eight years in this set-up. There have been nine such drops so far, as of April 2014.
In scientific terms the 'drop' is a defined amount of liquid, although it is defined differently in the metric, medical, Imperial and US systems. Indeed, it is defined in two ways in the US system.
In Latin, glut glut was the sound of water falling through a small hole.
Rain drops are spherical, not teardrop-shaped. Ball-bearing and lead shot makers exploit this property of falling liquids in their manufacturing process: molten lead is dropped through a sieve from a great height into a cooling liquid, and comes out spherical. Shot-drop towers used to be built for the purpose - until the Festival of Britain there was one next to Waterloo Bridge.
The 234ft Phoenix Shot Tower in Baltimore (still standing) was the tallest building in America until the Washington Monument surpassed it after the Civil War.
The word 'gout' derives from the Latin gutta, meaning 'drop'. It was believed that fluid dropping into the affected joint caused it.
Dripping water hollows out a stone.