We catalog many books and maps about the Cretaceous period and system. Around Austin, Texas, we have a variety of sedimentary rocks that originated during the Cretaceous period when a great inland sea, full of creatures, covered much of Texas. Geologists may have fun going out to the hill country springs and outcrops to answer questions about these rocks and fossils and formations. But we librarians have unexpected questions too. What is this publication up to? And is the word Cretaceous capitalized? You would think that this would be a simple answer, but scientists can be wacky. The OED does clarify that in a geological context Cretaceous is capitalized. For your amusement, here are a few examples of the use of cretaceous and an example of jejune thrown in as a bonus definition.
cretaceous, adj. and n.
a. Of the nature of chalk; chalky.
b. Chalk-like. humorous.
1708 J. Philips Cyder i. 54 Nor from the sable Ground expect Success Nor from cretaceous, stubborn and jejune.
1808 S. Smith P. Plymley’s Lett. vi, I love not the cretaceous and incredible countenance of his colleague.
B. n. (usu. with the).
Geol. The Cretaceous system or period.
1910 Encycl. Brit. VII. 415/1 With the opening of the Cretaceous in Europe there commenced a period of marine transgression.
2. Deficient in nourishing or substantial (physical) qualities; thin, attenuated, scanty; meagre, unsatisfying; (of land) poor, barren.
“cretaceous, adj. and n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 31 October 2014.
“jejune, adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 31 October 2014.