One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A crescent-shaped shifting sand dune, as found in the deserts of Turkestan.
- ‘The pace of an offensive in the desert depends to a great extent on how well the troops can overcome natural obstacles, especially barchans and solonchaks, rock outcrops covered by the enemy fire.’
- ‘Now a team publishing in the 23 December print issue of PRL reports it has generated miniature replicas of crescent-shaped dunes known as barchans in a water tank.’
- ‘Transverse ridges have a higher sand supply than barchans but also exist in unidirectional winds.’
- ‘As he described them to the nomads of the Empty Quarter, they thought of the hard dark dunes found in their own desert called barchan dunes.’
Late 19th century: from Turkic barkhan.
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