The other day I added guar to my Book of Words. Then I thought, wait … am I getting guar mixed up with gaur? It’s like that time I got auger mixed up with augur. That was a few days ago, and now this is my attempt to never get guar mixed up with gaur again!
Popular for its seeds (peas) which can be reformed into a gum known as “guar gum” (oft used in processed foods as a binder or thickener) a guar is a drought-resistant plant of the pea family, native to the dry climes of Africa and Asia. The word guar can refer to a single plant, or it can be used as a plural noun to refer to the seeds. An example: “From one guar I got a whole bowl of guar.” Indeed, guar can also refer to the various refined forms, such as guar flower or guar gum. So next time someone tells you the soccer ball is off behind the guar somewhere, hopefully you’ll remember this boring blog post you read.
Native to Malaysia and India, a gaur (pronounced gower) is a bulky wild ox. Like the word bison (which is an ox native to North America and Europe), gaur can be used as a singular noun or as a plural, albeit saying gaurs to mean plural is also acceptable. So next time you’re in India and you see a wild ox, you’ll know what to call it. But for the almighty’s sake, you better not get it mixed up with guar!