Al

Noni plant

Noni

Aj is not a word, so we come to al, an Indian mulberry. Wait, that sounds awfully familiar. Aha, that’s because I wrote about the variant spelling aal already.

It’s an evergreen shrub, Morinda tinctoria, commonly known as the Indian mulberry. The root bark of the young plant is used to make red, brown or purple morindone dye.

It seems there’s another species, Morinda citrifolia, which is also known as the Indian mulberry, or aal, or al. Both these shrubs can be used in the production of a dye which is use in batik. Both bear the noni fruit, which apparently has become the subject of some controversy.

Words that can be formed by adding a letter in front of al:

We’ve already talked about aal. A bal is a sort of shoe; it’s short for balmoral, which should by no means be confused with an oxford. I always enjoy the lentil dish dal when I can find it, though I spell it dahl. I used to have a gal pal who used the word sal to mean “cool” or “hip,” but I think the orthodox definition is salt, a mostly obsolete term used for chemical compounds like sal ammoniac.

Words that can be formed by adding a letter at the end of al:

Apparently ala refers to a wing or winglike structure; for example, there’s a part of your pelvis known as the wing of ilium. An alb is a long-sleeved priest-like vestment. I think I used to wear one of these when I was an altar boy. We all like ale, right? An alp is a mountain; yes, it’s a common noun. The plural of al is als. An alt is a high note such as an alto might sing.

Noni plant / Dinesh Valke / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Noni / Rob Ellis / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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