continued from here
PRONUNCIATION: (MY-duhs tuhch)
MEANING: noun: The ability to easily make anything profitable.
ETYMOLOGY: After the legendary King Midas who was given the power that anything he touched turned into gold. Earliest documented use: 1652.
NOTES: Be careful what you wish for. That’s the moral of the story of King Midas. He was given the power by Dionysus that anything he touched would turn into gold. His happiness was momentary. Soon he learned that he couldn’t eat anything because as soon as he touched food it would turn into gold and all that glitters is inedible. His father Gordias has an eponym coined after him too.
- what makes Verdi's opera a masterpieceMIDAS TOUGH
- one-time sales slogan for car mufflersMID-EAST OUCH
- the Gaza Strip
MEANING: noun: A bitter condemnation, usually in a speech.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek philippikos, the name given to orator Demosthenes’s speeches urging Athenians to rise up against Philip II of Macedon. Earliest documented use: 1550.
PHILIPP, INC - the makers of Milk of Magnesia have very quietly changed their name
PHILIP PICE - India has issued a new small coin bearing the image of the Duke of Edinburgh, now 98
PHILIP, PC - ...now that he has an official policy of never offending anyone any more
also herma (HUHR-muh), plural hermae (HUHR-mee) or hermai (HUHR-my) or herms
MEANING: noun: A square pillar topped with a bust.
ETYMOLOGY: After Hermes, the god of roads, boundaries, eloquence, commerce, invention, cunning, theft, and more, in Greek mythology. Earliest documented use: 1579.
NOTES: In ancient Greece, herm was a stone pillar with a square base. It had a bust of Hermes at the top and a phallus at the appropriate height. It was typically used as a boundary marker, milestone, or signpost.
HERR M. - how Sir Miles Messervy is addressed in Berlin
HERA - the many wives of Zeus (each one being a Herum)
HER MD - the degree earned by the lady doctor
pH ER M - the acidity of the thirteenth Emergency Room
"also HERMA - (HUHR-muh), plural hermae (HUHR-mee) "
- what Johnny was to Frankie ((but he done her wrong)
PRONUNCIATION: (uh-KIL-eez heel)
MEANING: noun: A seemingly small but critical weakness in an otherwise strong position.
ETYMOLOGY: After Achilles, a hero in the Greek mythology. When Achilles was a baby, his mother Thetis dipped him into the magical river Styx to make him invincible. She held him by the heel which remained untouched by the water and became his weak point. He was killed when the Trojan prince Paris shot an arrow that pierced his one vulnerable spot: his heel. After him, the tendon in the lower back of the ankle is also known as the Achilles tendon. Earliest documented use: 1705.
NOTES: ...The actor Brad Pitt played Achilles in the 2004 film Troy and tore his left Achilles tendon during production. Talk about taking a role seriously!
ACHILLES HEAL - sewing the tendon back together
ACHILLES' HELL - tearing the other one
A.C. HILLE STEEL - what the blast furnaces of industrial magnate Arthur Charles Hille produce
PRONUNCIATION: (suh-KRAT-ik EYE-ruh-nee)
MEANING: noun: A profession of ignorance in a discussion in order to elicit clarity on a topic and expose misconception held by another.
ETYMOLOGY: After Greek philosopher Socrates (470?-399 BCE) who employed this method. Earliest documented use: 1721.
SOCRATIC IRONS - what Socrates used to hit the ball off the grass
SOCRATIC CRONY - Xanthippe
SOURATIC IRONY - when the grape farmer says of the escaping crow, ""Well, he was too scrawny to make very good eating anyway..."
PRONUNCIATION: (MY-duhs eerd)
1. Having poor judgment.
2. Having inability to appreciate something.
ETYMOLOGY: After the legendary King Midas (of Midas touch fame) whose ears Apollo turned into a donkey’s ears for suggesting that Apollo’s musical rival Marsyas played better music. Earliest documented use: 1569.
NOTES: The god Apollo and the satyr Marsyas had a musical contest (in another version of the story it was the god Pan instead of Marsyas). The mountain-god Tmolus served as the judge and declared Apollo the winner. King Midas, in his kibitzing wisdom, favored Marsyas as the winner. This upset Apollo who said that Midas’s musical judgment implied that he had donkey’s ears and made his ears those of a donkey’s. (Not to be confused with donkey’s years.)
Then, Apollo had his musical opponent Marsyas skinned alive. (Not that serene, was he, as his reputation in the eponym Apollonian suggests?) Now you know why back then they didn’t have Greece’s Got Talent on Mount Olympus. Who would be foolish enough to sign up as a judge (Simon Cowell wasn’t born yet) and who would dare to be a contestant?
MIDAS BARED - gold clothing is kinda stiff, after all
VIDA SEARED - pitcher Blue was really throwing heat today
MID-ASIA RED - a Chinese chicken
MEANING: verb tr.: To behave, especially to speak or write, as if corruptly influenced.
ETYMOLOGY: After Philip II of Macedon. It was believed that after Philip took control of the shrine at Delphi, the seat of high priestess Pythia, she began delivering oracles in his favor. Earliest documented use: 1597.
PILIPPIZE - to cover with microscopic projections; to fimbriate
CHILIPPIZE - to lace with hot peppers
PHILIPPRIZE - an award given by an eastern Pennsylvania city
MEANING: adjective: Interpretive or explanatory.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek hermeneutikos (of interpreting), from hermeneuein (to interpret), from hermeneus (interpreter). After Hermes in Greek mythology, who served as a messenger and herald for other gods, and who himself was the god of eloquence, commerce, invention, cunning, theft, and more. Earliest documented use: 1678..
Other words that Hermes has given us are hermaphrodite, hermetic, and herm.
HEMENEUTIC - mansplaining
HERMENEUTIA - the tiny things she's always fussing over
HERMENAUTIC - yacht-racing
MEANING: verb tr.: To harass or chase.
ETYMOLOGY: After Achilles, a hero in the Greek mythology. When his close friend Patroclus is killed by Hector, a vengeful Achilles chases Hector around the wall of Troy three times. Also, he causes great carnage among Trojans. Earliest documented use: 1672. Also see Achilles’ heel.
NOTES: Achilles is better known for his heel, but his anger is so prominent that it’s a popular subject in paintings. For example, The Wrath of Achilles (1630-1635) by Peter Paul Rubens, The Rage of Achilles (1757) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and La Colère d’Achille (1847) by Léon Benouville.
A.C. HILL ICE - we'll air-condition the entire mountain!
A CHILD LIZE - but then, all kids stretch the truth at times
A CHILLI ZED - the British alphabet ends coldly
(or hotly, from a culinary viewpoint)
MEANING: noun: A stadium for horse races, chariot races, horse shows, etc.
verb tr.: To manipulate or prearrange the outcome of a contest.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek hippos (horse) + dromos (running). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ekwo- (horse), which also gave us equestrian and equitant. Earliest documented use: 1549.
NOTES: Match fixing has been around for as long as humans have been having matches. Today’s word shows it going as far as ancient horse racing.
WHIPPODROME - site of the National SadoMasochists Convention
HIP POD ROSE - where the attar is
HIPPO-DRONE - ...and you thought they couldn't even get off the ground!
PRONUNCIATION: (HORS rays)
1. The treating of a contest, especially an election, as if a sport, focusing on polls, perceptions, etc., instead of substantive issues, such as policies.
2. A close contest.
ETYMOLOGY: From horse, from Old English hors + race, from Old Norse (ras). Earliest documented use: 1586.
MORSE RACE - contest to see who has the fastest "fist"
HOARSER ACE - the stunt pilot had a raspier voice after all that shouting (and smoking)
HER SERA, C.E. - she sells immunization supplies in the European Common Union
1. The ideal qualifications of a knight: courtesy, honor, bravery, gallantry, etc.
2. The institution of knighthood, a group of knights, a gallant deed, etc.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old French chevalerie, from chevalier (knight), from Latin caballus (horse). Earliest documented use: 1297.
NOTES: Chivalry sounds nice, but it hides a dark side. While pretending to treat women with courtesy, we also treat them as if they are less capable, in leadership, in intelligence, and so on. It took as late as 1919 for women to get the right to vote in the US, for example. As late as 2016, some people voted for an incompetent over a highly accomplished woman, because, in their view, a “man can do a better job than a woman”
[Also known as a "cavalier" attitude - and for good etymological reason...]
SHIVALRY - Code of the Streets: gangs agree - no guns, only knives during rumbles
CO-HIVALRY - when two bee colonies work together for mutual advantage (usually occurs when the respective Queens are twins)
CHIRAL-RY - inability to superimpose on one's mirror image. Think gloves.
1. A horse used in war. Also known as a charger.
2. An experienced, dependable person, thing, etc., one who has gone through many contests, battles, struggles, etc.
3. Something, such as a play, a piece of music, etc., that has been performed often to become hackneyed.
ETYMOLOGY: From war, from Old English (werre) + horse, from hors. Earliest documented use: 1586.
WAX HORSE - Cetohippus, statue by Madame Toussaud
WART-HORSE - a chimera of half horse, half toad
WAR-NORSE - Odin and his buddies
1. A cowboy who takes care of horses.
2. A person who engages in debates, quarrels, or disputes.
3. A person who handles animals, puppets, babies, unruly humans, etc., especially on a film set.
ETYMOLOGY: Probably partial translation of Mexican Spanish caballerango (groom or stable boy), from caballo (horse), from Latin caballus (horse). Ultimately from Indo-European root wer- (to turn or bend), which also gave us wring, weird, writhe, worth, revert, universe, conversazione, divers, malversation, prosaic, versal, verso, and wroth. Earliest documented use: 1518.
P.R. ANGLER - a fisherman from San Juan
W RANGER - patrols the West
WRIANGLER - someone to whom everything looks somewhat askew
PRONUNCIATION: (CATS puh-JAH-muhz)
MEANING: noun: Something or someone truly excellent.
ETYMOLOGY: From cat + pajamas, from Hindi/Urdu pajama or payjama (loose-fitting trousers), from Persian pay (leg) + jama (garment). Earliest documented use: 1923.
NOTES: In the 1920s, in the US it was fashionable to coin terms on the pattern of x’s y (where x is an animal) to describe something cool or awesome. Some synonyms of today’s term are bee’s knees, dog’s bollocks, cat’s meow, and cat’s whiskers.
CATS PA JAMES - "...and I think - I think I shall call him Jim / 'cause I am so fond of him!" - A A Milne
CATSPAW AMAS - he's a dummy, but you love him anyway
SCAT'S PAJAMAS - a love-hate relationship
PRONUNCIATION: (ZEE-noz PAR-uh-doks)
1. Any of various paradoxes proposed by Zeno, dealing with change and motion.
2. The appearance of getting closer and closer to a goal, but never reaching there.
ETYMOLOGY: After the Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea (c. 490-430 BCE) who proposed a number of paradoxes as defense of the doctrine of his teacher Parmenides.
NOTES: The best-known among Zeno’s paradoxes is that of a race between Achilles and a tortoise. Achilles runs faster, but the tortoise has a headstart. By the time Achilles reaches the tortoise’s starting position, the tortoise has moved forward. By the time he reaches the tortoise’s new position, the tortoise has moved farther, even though the gap is now smaller.
According to the paradox, Achilles would never catch up with the tortoise because the tortoise would always be a little ahead, no matter how small the gap. Yet, we know Achilles does catch up with the tortoise (he is Achilles, not a hare). How does he do it? By not dozing off in his high school calculus and understanding the concept of limits: if you add up that infinite sequence of increasing smaller spans he traveled, you get a finite distance.
ZEN'S PARADOX - What is the sound of one hand clapping?
ZERO'S PARADOX - division, in the field ℝ of real numbers
ZENO SPARED OX - The ox was to be slaughtered as a sacrifice to Zeus, but instead it was sent off into the wilderness carrying all our sins. There it met and was adopted by Paul Bunyan, and the rest is his story...
PRONUNCIATION: (GOD-winz law)
MEANING: noun: The idea that as a debate progresses, it becomes inevitable that someone would compare another to Hitler or the Nazis.
ETYMOLOGY: Coined by Mike Godwin (b. 1956). Earliest documented use: 1991.
NOTES: Lawyers don’t make laws, but a lawyer once did make a “law”. Back when people lived in caves, they used something called the Usenet to engage in discussions with people around the world. These discussions involved passionate arguments and debates on humanity’s deep yearnings and moral dilemmas. Is it pronounced gif or jif? Is Mac better or PC? Does it take one space or two after a period? The Who vs. Led Zeppelin. vi vs. emacs?
A lawyer named Mike Godwin coined an adage that stated: “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” Since then Godwin’s law has served as a useful reminder that whenever a comparison to Hitler or Nazis is made, the discussion is over and the one making such a comparison loses.
There is, however, an exception. When actual Nazis (or as our president calls them, “very fine people”) are involved in a discussion, invoking Godwin’s law doesn’t mean anything. Godwin himself has stated that many times.
GOODWIN'S LAW - Discussion of business is not allowed at the dinner table! (or was that Nero Wolfe's Law?)
GODWIN'S LAWN - mixed fescues, no doubt
GOD, WINSLOW - That, Mr Homer, is what's missing from your paintings
PRONUNCIATION: (CHYLDZ play)
MEANING: noun: Something trivial; a task easily accomplished.
ETYMOLOGY: From child, from Old English cild + play, from Old English plegan. Ultimately from the Indo-European root dlegh- (to engage oneself), which also gave us pledge, plight, and indulge. Earliest documented use: 1275.
CHILD'S PLAN - When I grow up I'm gonna be a fireman...or a rocket pilot!
CHILE'S PLAY - original title for Evita; most memorable song was "Don't Cry for Me, Valparaiso"
CHILD'S PLAY - the 305 Ballads that minstrels have drawn on for 150 years
PRONUNCIATION: (PLAY-tohz kayv)
MEANING: noun: An illusory place or experience.
ETYMOLOGY: After the allegory of Plato’s cave in which people imprisoned there see shadows and assume that to be their reality. Earliest documented use: 1683.
PLATO SCARE - We're having a big test on Ancient Greek tomorrow
PLATO'S CAVE - "Beware the Ides of March, Socrates!"
PLATH'S CAVE - where Sylvia went to hide from the world
MEANING: adjective: Relating to or conducive to happiness.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek eudaimonia (happiness), from eudaimon (having a good genius, happy), from eu- (good) + daimon (spirit, fate, fortune). Earliest documented use: 1832.
NOTES: This is a happy word; nothing demonic about it, except in the etymology.
FEUDEMONC - a devilish argument
EUDEMANIC - status after the ups and downs of bipolar disorder have been exorcised
EUDAMONIC - like a true friend of Pythias
MEANING: noun: The techniques and methods of espionage and clandestine operations.
ETYMOLOGY: From trade, from Middle Dutch / Middle Low German trade (path, course) + craft, from Old English craeft (strength, power). Earliest documented use: 1812.
NOTES: The word tradecraft is not a synonym of Etsy. It has nothing to do with trading and nothing to do with needlework or pottery either. OK, in the beginning it did mean skill in a particular craft, but since the 1950s it’s mostly used to talk about spying skills. One example of tradecraft is steganography.
TRADER AFT - there's a merchant at the rear of the boat
TIRADECRAFT - how to argue loudly and at great length
TRADE CROFT - tomb artifacts for sale by Lara
MEANING: noun: A partly sheltered stretch of water near the shore where ships can anchor. Also called roads.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English rad (riding, journey on horseback) + Old English stede (place). Earliest documented use: 1351.
ROAD STEAM - when a sunshower interrupts a hot summer day
ROADSTER AD - Get your Chevrolet today!
ROAD STRAD - the violin Josh Bell took to play on tour
MEANING: noun: A handkerchief.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin sudare (to sweat). Earliest documented use: 1609.
SUDASIUM - a hybrid flower produced by crossing a Daisy with a Black-Eyed Susan
SUDSARIUM - brewery showcase (see also BUDARIUM)
STUDARIUM - place where they showcase simple earrings
(Don't tell me you were expecting a display of Chippendales?)
MEANING: adjective: Of another kind.
ETYMOLOGY: An alteration of othergates, from other + gate (path), from Old Norse gata. Earliest documented use: 1632.
MOTHERGUESS - eyes in the back of her head
OCHERGUESS - just what kind of yellow is that?
OTHERGUESTS - title of the Infinite "Number of Hotel Rooms" paradox
1. Situated beyond the moon.
2. Celestial; exalted.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin superlunaris, from super- (above) + luna (moon). Earliest documented use: 1614. The opposite is sublunary.
SUPER LUNA RAY - the Moon Men have an unstoppable weapon
SUPER-FUNARY - a fantastically good time
CUPERTUNARY - where Apple designed their first all-in-one computers
1. The curved surface of a column of liquid.
2. Something having a crescent-shape.
3. A lens that is concave on one side and convex on the other.
4. A thin cartilage disk between bones in a joint, such as in a knee or wrist.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin, from Greek meniskos (crescent), diminutive of mene (moon). Earliest documented use: 1686.
MENI’S CUB - What do you call the young son of Meni, the Lion King?
AMEN IS. 'CUS. - What's the last word of many hymns, and why?
ME? DISCUS - What's your event in the track meet?
1. In a dreamy state.
2. Romantically dazed.
3. Mentally deranged.
ETYMOLOGY: From the belief that a person behaving erratically was under the influence of the moon. From moon + struck, past participle of strike, from Old English strican. Earliest documented use: 1674.
NOTES: The moon never made anyone loony, but it’s a popular excuse for erratic behavior. No one is turning into a werewolf, whether it’s a full-moon or new moon. See this article Lunacy and the Full Moon from the Scientific American.
MORON'S TRUCK - You mean that idiot has a tractor-trailer rig?
MUON STRUCK - hit by a subatomic particle
MOON STRUNK - make a derisive gesture at the co-author of a prominent Style Handbook
PRONUNCIATION: (BLOO moon)
MEANING: noun: A long time.
ETYMOLOGY From blue, from Old French bleu + moon, from Old English mona. Earliest documented use: 1702.
NOTES: The term typically appears in the phrase “once in the blue moon”, meaning rarely or not often. In reality, a blue moon occurs on average once every 2.7 years. So what is a blue moon? Well, in a year you see 12 full moons, but sometimes there’s a bonus full moon. This extra full moon is called a blue moon, though it’s not really blue.a cartoon that depicts prurient themesons. If there are four, the third full moon is called a blue moon.
Sometimes, the moon actually shows up in blue, but it has nothing to do with the above discussion -- nothing to do with a full moon. The color is due to the smoke or dust particles from forest fires, volcanic eruptions, etc.
So why is that extra moon called a blue moon? Nobody knows. Perhaps the literal blue moon got conflated with the extra full moon because both occurrences are unusual and don’t occur that often,
BLUE TOON - a cartoon that depicts prurient themes
BLÉ MOON - the full moon that occurs during the wheat harvest, usually June or July for spring wheat
BLUE MORN - the sun rose revealing a cloudless sky
1. The crescent-shaped whitish area at the base of the fingernail.
2. Any crescent-shaped mark, object, etc.
ETYMOLOGY: From French lunule, From Latin lunula, diminutive of luna (moon). Earliest documented use: 1737. Also known as lunula.
L'UNCLE - husband of l'aunt
LUNGULE - a small sub-part of an organ of breathing
FUNULE - basic unit of enjoyment. Maximum value = exhilaration
PRONUNCIATION: (SOL-i-siz-ehm, SO-li-)
1. A grammatical mistake or a nonstandard usage.
2. A breach of etiquette.
3. An error, inconsistency, or impropriety.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin soloecismus, from Greek soloikismos, from soloikos (speaking incorrectly; literally, inhabitant of Soloi) after Soloi, an ancient Athenian colony in Cilicia where a dialect considered as substandard was spoken. Earliest documented use: 1577.
SOLECISTM - the Sun, the Earth, and all the associated moons and satellites and asteroids and comets
SOLE-COSM - the flip side of the Multiverse
SOLE-ISM - a firm belief in the sanctity of one's Immortal Shoe
PRONUNCIATION: (man-CHOOR-ee-uhn KAN-di-det)
MEANING: noun: A person, especially a politician, acting as a puppet of a foreign power.
ETYMOLOGY: From the novel The Manchurian Candidate (1959) by Richard Condon. The term was popularized by a film (same title, 1962) based on the book. Manchuria is a region in the east between China and Russia. Earliest documented use: 1975.
MANCHURIAN CANIDATE - stranger running for dog officer...
MANCHURIAN CANADATE - ...in Ottawa...
ANCHOVIAN CANDIDATE - ...there's something fishy going on here!
1. A desperate evacuation or retreat.
2. A crisis requiring drastic measures to avoid total disaster.
ETYMOLOGY: After Dunkirk (in French, Dunkerque), a seaport and town in northern France. In World War II, it was the site of evacuation of more than 330,000 Allied troops by sea while under German fire during May-June 1940. Earliest documented use: 1941.
DUNK IRE - anger at being shoved unexpectedly into the swimming pool
DUNG IRK - ..and clean up after your @#$$%& elephants!
DUN KIRK - when the Scottish church won't pay its bills
MEANING: noun: An undesirable or isolated location assigned to those who have fallen out of favor or are being disciplined.
ETYMOLOGY: After Siberia, a vast region of central and eastern Russia, used as a place of exile by Russia under the tsars and by the USSR. Earliest documented use: 1841. See also: gulag.
SOBERIA - the Holy Grail of alcoholics
I, BERIA - autobiography of a Communist
S.I. BERRA - Yankee catcher has another career working for Sports Illustrated magazine
PRONUNCIATION: (UL-tuh-muh THOO-lee)
1. The northernmost part of the world believed habitable by the ancients.
2. A distant or remote goal or place.
3. The farthest point.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin ultima (farthest) + Thule, a place believed by ancient people to be the northernmost, variously identified as Iceland, Norway, Greenland, or Shetland Islands. Earliest documented use: 1771.
ALTIMA THULE - what you use to repair a Nissan (H pronounced as in "Thomas")
(also Thule Air Force Base in Greenland, for that matter)
ULTIMAT YULE - last Christmas
MULTI-MATH ULE - a low-energy technology with much mathematical underpinning
PRONUNCIATION: (hy-puh-kuh-RIS-tik, hip-uh-)
MEANING: adjective: Relating to a pet name or diminutive form of a name.
noun: A pet name or diminutive form of a name.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek hypokoristikos, from hypokorizesthai (to call by pet names), from hypo- (under) + kor- (child). Ultimately from Indo-European root ker- (to grow), which is also the source of other words such as increase, recruit, crew, crescent, cereal, concrete, crescendo, sincere, and Spanish crecer (to grow). Earliest documented use: 1796.
HYPNOCORISTIC - putting the kids to sleep; lullaby-like
HYPOCHORISTIC - singing under your breath
THY POCO-RISTIC - your little flick of the hand
1. The fact of being descended or derived from someone or something.
2. The act of determining such relationship.
3. Forming of a new branch.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin filius (son). Earliest documented use: 1529.
FIFIATION - transforming into a French poodle
CILIATION - developing hairlike projections all over
FILIATIRON - ferromagnetic wiring
FILINATION - a country of form-filler-outers
TEKNONYMY - (or TECNONYMY)
MEANING: noun: The custom of naming a parent after their child.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek teknon (child) + -onym (name). Earliest documented use: 1888.
NOTES: If you have ever called your spouse Billy’s Dad or Billy’s Mom, you have practiced teknonymy. When we refer to a parent as a senior, as in Bush Sr. (or, to get fancy, Bush père), we are also doing a kind of teknonymy. It’s just that in some cultures teknonymy is practiced more formally and a parent is renamed after the birth of the first child. There are many reasons for using teknonymy. In some cultures, it’s considered taboo to call certain relations by name (as in the usage example below). Sometimes, it’s convenience. You may not know or remember the names of your child’s friends’ parents, for example, so you resort to teknonymy.
TECH NO NY MY - No electronics in New York City? Amazing!
TECNOZYMY - genecically-engineered yeast
TECHNONYMY - web-surfing in incognito mode
TREKNONYMY - nobody knows the names of Picard and crew in this adventure that takes place in the Holodeck
MEANING: adjective: Relating to childbirth or following childbirth.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin puerpera (woman who has given birth), from puer (child) + -para (carrying), from parere (to bear). The Latin puer is ultimately from the Indo-European root pau- (few, little), which is also the source of few, foal, filly, pony, poor, pauper, poco, puerile, poltroon, pullulate, punchinello, and catchpole. Earliest documented use: 1716.
GUERPERAL - warring
PUER-PERIAL - His Exalted Majesty is still only six
PUERTERAL - portly
MEANING: adjective: Characterized by an excessive, narrow adherence to rules without practical judgment.
ETYMOLOGY: From French pédant or Italian pedante, perhaps from Latin paedagogare (to teach). Earliest documented use: 1607.
PET ANTIC - my little doggie does the cutest trick
PEDIANTIC - and so does my kid
SEDAN TIC - my car gets a twitch at 31 mph
FED ANTIC - what's the Federal Reserve Bank trying to do now?
MEANING: noun: A chain of mountains or mountain ranges.
ETYMOLOGY: From Spanish cordillera, diminutive of cuerda (cord), from Latin chorda (cord), from Greek khorde (gut). Earliest documented use: 1704.
______________________________CORD ILL SERA
- inoculants against umbilical cord disease
see also CORD ILLER
- mine is sicker than yoursCOR DILL SERA
- inoculants against pickled heartCOR-DRILLER
- a cardiologist who practices TMR (Trans-Myocardial Revascularization
MEANING: noun: A piece of banal religious art, devotional object, ornament, etc.
ETYMOLOGY: From French bondieuserie (religious knick-knack), from bon (good) + dieu (god). Earliest documented use: 1941.
BLONDIE USER, I.E. - someone who takes advantage of Dagwood Bumstead's wife, I mean to say
BON-DIEUSE RITE - ritual of Benign-Goddess worship
BOND E.U. SERIES - Ian Fleming also wrote of his debonair agent's adventures on the Continent
MEANING: noun: The tendency to see a specific pattern or meaningful images in random stimulus.
ETYMOLOGY: From German Pareidolien, from Greek para- (along) + eidolon (image), from eidos (form, idea). Ultimately from the Indo-European root weid- (to see), which also gave us wise, view, supervise, wit, eidetic, eidos, vidimus, previse, hades, guy, invidious, and vizard. Earliest documented use: 1962.
PRE-IDOL IA - Des Moines before the Beatles' visit
PARSE "I DO," LIA - Lia, take apart that short sentence for me and tell me the meaning and function of each word
PARED ELIA - Charles Lamb has been peeled
MEANING: adjective: Characterized by weakness of will that results in acting contrary to one’s better judgment.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek akretes (powerless), from a- (without) + kratos (power, strength). Earliest documented use: 1896.
AGRA TIC - I get a twitch every time I see the Taj Mahal
AKMATIC - nickname of a Russian-made 7.62mm semi-automatic rifle
ARRATIC - unpredictable
OKRATIC - full of gumbo
PAKRATIC - given to collecting and saving useless baubles
UKRATIC - the British Public's expectations of Brexit
PRONUNCIATION: (suh-TYAH-gruh-uh, sut-YAH-gru-ha)
MEANING: noun: The policy of passive nonviolent resistance as a protest against injustice.
ETYMOLOGY: Coined by Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) in India’s freedom struggle, from Sanskrit satyagraha, from satyam (truth) + agraha (determination, insistence), ultimately from the Indo-European root ghrebh- (to seize or reach), which also gave us grasp and grab. Earliest documented use: 1920.
SATYAGRAHAM - the silent struggle to market a new cracker
SATYR! AGRA! HA! - A bordello next to the Taj Mahal? Who knew?!
PRONUNCIATION: (MOON shot)
1. A mission to the moon.
2. A highly ambitious, unlikely project with great potential impact.
3. In sports, an act of hitting or throwing a ball very high.
ETYMOLOGY: From moon + shot, from Old English sceot/gesceot. Earliest documented use: 1949. Also, there’s an earlier citation from 1873, in the sense, lit by moonlight.
MOOR SHOT - Oh, no! Othello's been assassinated!
NOON'S HOT - If you don't like it, stay out of Arizona!
MORON SHOT - 0.5 cc of this stuff injected will turn you into a gibbering idiot
PRONUNCIATION: (LYT yeer)
1. A unit of length equal to the distance traveled by light in one year in a vacuum, about 5.88 trillion miles or 9.46 trillion km.
2. Very far, in distance or time.
ETYMOLOGY: From light, from Old English leoht + year, from Old English gear. Earliest documented use: 1888.
NOTES: A light-year is a unit of distance -- there’s no such unit as a heavy-year (nor is there a dark-year). To get a light-year’s worth of frequent-flier miles you’d need to travel between New York and Moscow only a little over a billion times.
MIGHTY EAR - what it takes to hear a pin drop
FLIGHT-YEAR - how long a trip to Mars in an elliptical orbit would take
EIGHT-YEAR - a long-term car lease
PRONUNCIATION: (ROK-it sy-uhns)
1. The science of rocket design, construction, and flight.
2. Something requiring advanced knowledge and intelligence.
ETYMOLOGY: From Italian rocchetta, diminutive of rocca (spindle, distaff) + science, from Latin scientia, present participle of scire (to know). Ultimately from the Indo-European root skei- (to cut or split), which also gave us schism, ski, shin, adscititious, conscientious, exscind, nescient, scienter, and sciolism. Earliest documented use: 1931.
RACKET SCIENCE - for the very best in tennis equipment
POCKET SCIENCE - specialized knowledge possessed by pool hustlers
SOCKET SCIENCE - a wrenching field of study
1. The action of being airborne, such as that of a rocket, aircraft, etc.
2. The launch of a project, an initiative, etc.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old Norse lypta, from lopt (air) + off, stressed variant of the word of. Earliest documented use: 1907.
LIFT ORFF - to adapt music from The Planets and claim you wrote it
LIFE TOFF - born with a silver spoon, and still rich and elegant
SIFT-OFF - the finals of the Pillsbury Flour contest
PRONUNCIATION: (SPAYS kuh-det)
MEANING:\ . noun:
1. A trainee astronaut.
2. A person who behaves strangely or appears to be out of touch with reality.
ETYMOLOGY: From Robert Heinlein’s 1948 novel Space Cadet. Why the second sense of the term? The book inspired TV and radio shows and comics and the term became popular. Eventually, the meaning shifted and now a space cadet is one who is spaced out or has their mind in space, probably as a result of drug use. Earliest documented use: 1948. Other words coined by Robert Heinlein that have become words in the English language are grok and waldo.
PACE CADET - Freshman in a New York city university (it also has a campus in Westchester)
APACE CADET - energetic, bustling trainee
SPACE CARET - editors' symbol for "insert a two-en quad here"
MEANING: verb intr.: To philosophize or speculate in the manner of Pythagoras or the Pythagoreans.
verb tr.: To convert (a person or thing) into another.
ETYMOLOGY: After Pythagoras, Greek philosopher (c. 570-495 BCE). Earliest documented use: 1603.
NOTES: Pythagoras is best known for the Pythagorean theorem, although it was widely known before him. Pythagoras was ultimately a philosopher with wide interests and had many followers. He also believed in the transmigration of the soul which resulted in the second sense of the word pythagorize.
Did you know there’s a Pythagoras Day? It doesn’t occur every year. Last one was on 8/15/17 (8² + 15² = 17²). Next will occur on 12/16/20 (12² + 16² = 20²). Start planning the celebrations now!
MYTHAGORIZE - to sort out the shenanigans of the denizens of Mount Olympus
PYTHAGONIZE - to be in great distress over the white part of an orange rind
PHTHAGORIZE - to spread tuberculosis through the Greek marketplace
MEANING: verb intr.: To misuse a word by confusing it with a similar-sounding word, producing a humorous effect. For example, “pineapple of perfection” for “pinnacle of perfection” (from the play The Rivals).
ETYMOLOGY: After Mrs. Malaprop, a character in Richard Sheridan’s play, The Rivals (1775), who confused words in this manner. The name Malaprop is coined from French “mal à propos” (inappropriate). Earliest documented use: 1959.
MAULAPROP - when you run your outboard motor in water that's too shallow
(see also MAILAPROP - to order a replacement from Sears-Roebuck)
MAL A PREOP - sick, and scheduled for surgery
GALA PROP - an easel with the sign pointing you to big party
Restorize- create and maintain a state of peace and easy feeling
Welcome, Littldrop, nice to have you with us!
MEANING: verb tr.: To fill someone with the idea of being very wise.
ETYMOLOGY: After Nestor, king of Pylos, who was the oldest and wisest of the Greeks and served as a counselor in the Trojan War. Earliest documented use: 1612.
NEST PRIZE - for building the bestest place ever for a birdie to lay eggs !
ONE-STORIZE - to divest of all branch stores
NEXTORIZE - nosy neighbors (say it out loud!)
Do witt - motivational remark
De mitt! - nursery acceptable language
Pew it- tactical theatrics
😊 thank you, wofahulicodoc
MEANING: verb tr.: To kill by mob violence.
ETYMOLOGY: After brothers, Johan and Cornelius De Witt, Dutch statesmen, who were killed by a mob on Aug 20, 1672. Earliest documented use: 1689.
NOTES: Today’s word has a better-known synonym: lynch. While the word lynch is coined after the perpetrator of such extra-judicial killing (Captain William Lynch), the word dewitt is coined after people who were the object of such violence.
DEWI TIT - after frolicking in the morning grass, the tiny songbird is wet
DE WIDT - side-to-side dimension, analogous to the up-and-down dimension (de hite)
DEE ITT - another cousin in the Addams Family
MEANING: verb tr.: To magically transport or transform someone or something.
ETYMOLOGY: After the title character of the story Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. Earliest documented use: 1848.
A LAD: DIN, IRE - prize-winning ultra-short story about a noisy boy who makes everybody angry
SALAD DINIZE - eat only lettuce and tomato and cucumbers
GAL, ADD IN IZE - ya gotta use yer peepers better to communicate yer feelings
Paladdinize- knightly constitutional
Paladdinize - knightly constitutional
Do you mean Bret or Bart the Maverick bros?
Paladdinize - knightly constitutional
Non linear thinking:
101 Dalmatians- evening constitutional
UK- Cockney rhyming slang
Bo Peep- sleep
I usually check my word sites at night
MEANING: conjunction: Before (earlier in time).
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English aer (earlier). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ayer- (day, morning), which is also the source of early and erst (as in erstwhile). Earliest documented use: 822.
MR. E. - a puzzlement
R. R. E. - a mechanical model of the Solar System
T. R. E. (preferably with a German accent) - a hypothesis, or (after a while) the best explanation we have for a set of observations
RE - That's about it.
LRE- lesson, ready-to-educate. A self-contained, individual school ration.
PRONUNCIATION: (EK-ay, ECH-ay, EK-see)
MEANING: interjection: Behold! (used to call attention to someone or something).
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin ecce (see, behold). Earliest documented use: 1598.
ECCH - What, me worry?
'ENCE - elsewhere, in medieval English-with-a-Cockney-accent. Ex: "Get thee 'ence"
DECCE - many Italian record companies (cf. lira, pl. lire)
Pinim- "stick it to the man"
Vinim- mini sized vitamin
Linim- an ocean in a drop
1. The least amount of anything.
2. In music, a half note.
3. A unit of liquid measure, equivalent to 1/60 of a fluid dram (about one drop of liquid).
4. In calligraphy, a short vertical stroke, as in the letters i, m, n, u.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin minimus (smallest, least). Earliest documented use: 1440.
MINT I.M. - intramuscular flavoring
MR NIM - champion at taking-away game
MINI-MD - Doogie Howser
Mumdrum- mother's heartbeat for newborns
Wurdrum- white noise shusher machine
Purdrum- kitten noise maker with attached, fine grit, sandpaper tongue
Hurdrum- countless sheep jumping over the moon, comes with flokati
Surdrum- good knight, fast asleep
Nurdrum- logo maniac
1. A murder, especially in secret.
2. A fine paid for a murder.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin murdrum (murder), from Old French murdre (murder). Earliest documented use: 1290.
NOTES: Before England went around colonizing the world, they were colonized/conquered by Romans, Angles/Saxons/Jutes, Vikings, and Normans. The locals vented by killing their new lords. So the law came down that any murder of a Norman was to result in a heavy fine for the whole village. On the other hand, if the person killed was an Englishman or an Englishwoman: pas de problème. This fine was known as murdrum.
CURD-RUM - a beverage made from fermented milk
SUR DRUM - the cymbal on top of the Bass Drum in l'Orchestre de Paris
MUR DEUM - the Sacred Wall in Rome
MEANING: noun: A day other than one’s birthday.
ETYMOLOGY: Coined by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) in Through the Looking-Glass (1871). Earliest documented use: 1871.
NOTES: Today is a very special day. Most of our readers (about 99.7% of you) have their unbirthday today. A very happy unbirthday to you! How are you celebrating your unbirthday?
And if you happen to have your birthday today, well, a happy birthday to you!
SUNBIRTHDAY - the Winter Solstice
UNMIRTHDAY - April 15, for most of us, the day U.S. Income Tax returns are due
UNGIRTHDAY - I just lost 40 pounds!
MEANING: noun: A utensil that is a combination of a fork and spoon. Also known as a spork.
adjective: Shaped like a combination fork and spoon.
ETYMOLOGY: Coined as a nonsense word by the poet Edward Lear (1812-1888) in 1871.
NOTES:A runcible or spork is the love child of a spoon + fork, but that’s not what the word meant in the beginning. Edward Lear coined the word in the poem “The Owl and the Pussycat”:
...They dined upon mince, and slices of quince
Which they ate with a runcible spoon...
What runcible meant was left to the imagination of the reader. Lear later used the same word to describe other things: cat, hat, goose, and wall. Eventually, the word took the sense of a spoon that can do the job of both a fork and a spoon
RUN BIBLE - The Compleat Guide to Marathon Racing, by Alberto Salazar
RUNNIBLE - a long solid suit of cards in Bridge
RUNCI BLUE - a distinctive color popularized by Italian designer Giacomo Runci
MEANING: noun: The property of not being superimposable on its mirror image: dissymmetry.
ETYMOLOGY: Coined by physicist, engineer, and mathematician William Thomson, Baron Kelvin, also known as Lord Kelvin (1824-1907). From Greek cheir (hand). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ghes- (hand), which also gave us cheiromancy/chiromancy (palmistry), surgeon (literally, one who works with hands), and enchiridion (handbook). Earliest documented use: 1894.
CHORALITY - singtogetherableness (see also CHOIRALITY)
CHIRALITE - an ore of meteoric origin
CHIRA LAITY - non-clergy in a Latin American city
CHI REALITY - there is a 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet
1) falling inn love (totally stolen from movie on Netflix)
2) creative tension
"To explain the creative tension concept further, Fritz came up with a metaphor. Imagine yourself stretching a rubber band between your right and left hand. Your right hand represents your ‘vision’ and your left hand represents your current reality. The greater the gap between them, the greater your creative tension will be."
Chairality- a libation of one part chai and one part espresso taken before battle, inducing a signature call. (Xena's war cry)
MEANING: adjective: Having the capability of molding diverse ideas or things into unity.
ETYMOLOGY: Coined by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), apparently inspired by German Ineinsbildung (forming into one). From Greek es- (into) + en, neuter of eis (one) + plastic, from Latin plasticus (related to molding), from Greek plastikos, from plassein (to mold). Earliest documented use: 1817.
'E'SEMI-PLASTIC - 'e'll deform, but only if you pull 'im slowly
EJEMPLA STIC - a long skinny piece of wood, for example
ESTE M-PLASTIC - this Spanish explosive compound
Esimplastic- Lucy at the plastic factory
¡Esemplistic!- Ricky Ricardo's way of saying, "She's Nuts."
MEANING: adjective: Having a bizarre, subjective, idiosyncratic style, especially in journalism.
ETYMOLOGY: Coined by Bill Cardoso, journalist and author, in 1971. It was first used in a published work by Hunter S. Thompson, journalist and author (1939-2005). Perhaps from Italian gonzo (simpleton) or Spanish ganso (dull or fool, literally a goose). Earliest documented use: 1971.
GOON ZO - a zany old-time radio show featuring Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers and Michael Bentine.
GONZOO - the Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre in Nassau (Bahamas), alas, after recent Hurricane Dorian
GONDO - the guy who leers from a pole-propelled boat in Venice, singing "Santa Lucia"
MEANING: noun: A positive, beneficial form of stress.
ETYMOLOGY: Coined by the endocrinologist Hans Selye (1907-1982). From Greek eu- (good) + stress, from shortening of distress or from Old French estressei (narrowness or oppression), from Latin strictus, from stringere (to bind tight). Earliest documented use: 1950s.
NOTES: Eustress is happy stress. Some examples of eustress are excitement at starting a new job, an upcoming wedding, etc. In general, mild stress works as eustress, bringing motivation and spurring action. Too much stress results in distress.
EDUSTRESS - the SATs
EUSTLESS - of no value whatsoever
EUSTRUSS - what to do if you get a hernia
Seustress- Whoville whodo
Thanks for the giggle
Too much stress results in distress.
Or should that be 'dystress'?
Too much stress results in distress.
Or should that be 'dystress'?
MEANING: noun: The state of being or existing nowhere.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin nullibi (nowhere), from nullus (null) + ibi (here, there). Earliest documented use: 1668. The opposite is ubiety.
GULLIBIETY - the purchase of seagoing birds
NULLIBRIETY - teetotalling
(compare NUNLIBIETY: Sister's overdoing the sacramental wine...)
NULLIBILETY - just can't do anything well
Lullibiety- the condition or quality of being calm
Nullidiety- diet free
Lullibiety- the condition or quality of being calm
1. The removing of flesh, especially from a corpse before burial.
2. The supposed separation of the soul from the body at death.
ETYMOLOGY: From excarnate, from Latin excarnare (to remove flesh), from caro (flesh). Earliest documented use: 1847.
EXTARNATION - swearing has been officially banned
EXCORNATION - I feel so much better now after visiting my podiatrist
EXCARIATION - when the dentist takes care of my cavities (Query: what's left when you remove a hole?)
Exzarnation- officially wrecked
MEANING: noun: The substitution of a harsher, deprecating, or offensive term in place of a relatively neutral term.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek dys- (bad) + -phemism (as in euphemism). Earliest documented use: 1884. The opposite is euphemism.
NOTES: Examples include “death tax” for “estate tax” and “snail mail” for “paper mail”.
DY-SPHERISM - belief in two suns
DAYS-PHEMISM - Women's Lib while the sun shines
DYS-HEMISM - show disrespect for the claim that stocks follow the length of women's skirts, with a six-month lag
ZYSPHEMISM- to speak with a teutonic accent (comparable to any found in a Mel Brooks movie)
MEANING: noun: A substance producing harmful effects in someone because it is believed to be harmful, but which in reality is harmless.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin nocebo (I will harm), from nocere (to harm). Modeled after its antonym placebo (I will please). Earliest documented use: 1961.
NICE, BO - well done, Ms Derek
NO CEO - the head of the company just got canned
NO SEBO - a first-class gringo trying to say "I don't understand" in Spanish
MEANING: noun: One whose mental faculties have deteriorated, especially due to old age.
ETYMOLOGY: From Middle English doten (to be foolish). Earliest documented use: 1393.
DON'TARD - inevitably says "No!"
DEOTARD - worn at a Passion Ballet
DOPARD - a biochemist-hedonist
MEANING: adjective: Dull.
ETYMOLOGY: From Middle English soden (boiled), past participle of sethen (to boil) + wit (mental capacity). Earliest documented use: 1609, in Troilus and Cressida.
SUDDEN-WITTED - abruptly became smart
SHODDEN-WITTED - comfortably funny, like an old shoe
SODDEN-WILTED - all wet and floppy
1. A servant who does menial work in a kitchen, such as washing dishes.
2. A lowly or contemptible person.
ETYMOLOGY: Of uncertain origin, probably from Old French escouvillon (dishcloth, mop), diminutive of escouve (broom), from Latin scopa (broom) or from scullery (a small kitchen), from Old French escuele (dish), from Latin scutella, diminutive of scutra (pan). Earliest documented use: 1483.
CULLION - one who has been removed from a group in order to leave more room and resources for others more fit
SCULLIN' - rowin' down the river
SCULL ICON - part of a pirates' flag
MEANING: adjective: Blockheaded or thickheaded.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English cnotta (knot) + pate (head). Earliest documented use: 1598.
KNOTTY-RATED - measured speed in the water
KNOTTY-PATHED - without a simple, direct route from one end to the other
SNOTTY-PATED - wipes his nose on his hair
MEANING: adjective: Having a large belly: fat.
ETYMOLOGY: From gorbelly (large belly), from gor (gore) + belly, from Old English belig (bag). Earliest documented use: 1529.
GO REBEL LIED - enthusiastic dissident was not truthful
GOBEL-LIED - Lonesome George (50s TV comedian) sang in Berlin
IGOR-BELLIED - the Mad Scientist's assistant who enjoyed his beer too much
MEANING: adjective: Relating to or happening at puberty.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek hebe (youth). Earliest documented use: 19th c. Also see hebephrenia.
SHEBETIC - the high blood sugar sometimes seen in pregnancy
HEMETIC - makes you vomit blood
HE-BEST-IC - fixated on being first, even among equals
MEANING: noun: The evening time.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English aefentid, from aefen (evening) + tid (time). Earliest documented use: before 1000.
SEVENTIDE - the boat will sail at 7:05
EVERTIDE - brand of shoelaces that will never come undone
OVENTIDE - detergent that cleans even at high temperatures
EVENTIRE - so your vehicle will give you an EVENRIDE
MEANING: noun: A harsh mixture of sounds.
ETYMOLOGY: From French cacophonie, from Greek kakophonia (harsh sounding), from kakos (bad) + phone (sound). Kakos is ultimately from the Indo-European root kakka-/kaka- (to defecate), which also gave us poppycock, cucking stool, cacology, and cacography. Earliest documented use: 1656.
CACO-PONY - what has to be here somewhere 'cuz there's so much manure, according to the happy little boy mucking the stable
COCOPHONY - a bottle of cheap scent labelled "Chanel # 5000"
CACOPHONE - a musical instrument known for its raucous, unpleasant sound
MEANING: adjective: Not subject to being revised, defeated, or annulled.
ETYMOLOGY: From in- (not) + defeasible, from Old French desfaire (to undo or destroy), from Latin dis- (apart, away) + facere (to do). Ultimately from the Indo-European root dhe- (to set or put), which is also the source of do, deed, factory, fashion, face, rectify, defeat, sacrifice, satisfy, Sanskrit sandhi (joining), Urdu purdah (veil or curtain), and Russian duma (council). Earliest documented use: 1548.
INDEFENSIBLE - can't be defended or supported
INDYFEASIBLE - Ya know, we just might do OK in this big auto race, come Memorial Day
SINDEFEASIBLE - this could be a good place to establish the India/West Pakistan border
MEANING: noun: Stubborn rebelliousness or insubordination.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin contumacia, from contumax (insolent). Earliest documented use: 1386.
COSTUMACY - a Masquerade Ball
CON TO MACY - what Gimbels' scheme looked like to his competitor
CONTAMACY - spoiling with germs
MEANING: noun: A careless error in thinking.
ETYMOLOGY: From think, formed on the pattern of typo (typographical error). Earliest documented use: 1990s.
NOTES: When someone makes a typo and spells “teh” instead of “the”, it’s not that they don’t know the spelling of the word “the”. A thinko works the same way: it’s a glitch in one’s thinking, perhaps due to a distraction, tiredness, etc.
THINKA - famous Rodin sculpture on loan to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts
THICKO - antisocial psychopath with a list
THINNO - opposite of a thicko
MEANING: noun: A grandfather’s father: great-grandfather.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old French besayel/besaiol, from Latin bis (twice) + avolus, diminutive of avus (grandfather). Earliest documented use: 1480.
NOTES: A grandfather is an aiel, a great-grandfather a besaiel, a great-great-grandfather a tresaiel. Now that you know the pattern, feel free to coin words beyond your grandfather’s grandfather. Also, now that you know what to call them, who’s your besaiel?
BESOIEL - to bedeck with silk
BESAIL - a second attack, coming right after you ASSAIL
B.S. AIEL - You say "aiel" is "Grandfather"? That's bullsh*t.
MEANING: noun: The perception of connections or meaning in unrelated or random phenomena.
ETYMOLOGY: From German Apophänie, from Greek apo- (away, off, apart) + phainein (to show). Earliest documented use: around 1980. Apophenia is the general term -- pareidolia is an example of apophenia.
APO-PHRENIA - the delusion of thinking one is a simian primate
APOPHONIA - the diagnosis for a ventriloquist whose "thrown" voice comes from a great distance
A "POP" HERNIA - what comes eventually from a weakness of the inguinal region
MEANING: noun: An abrupt change in the middle of a sentence making one part inconsistent with the other.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin anacoluthon, from Greek anakolouthos, from an- (not) + akolouthos (following), from a- (together) + keleuthos (path). Earliest documented use: 1706.
AN ACOLYTHON - a long TV program to raise funds for priests' assistants
ANACOLUSHON - absence of a conspiracy
AN ACOLUTRON - a newly discovered kind of subatomic particle, with a strange but apparently charmed life
MEANING: noun: A dolphin rider.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin delphinus (dolphin), on the pattern of equestrian. Earliest documented use: 1820.
NOTES: If you ever get the urge to ride a dolphin, please leave them alone. Find yourself an inflatable one instead. In general, if you find yourself wanting to do things to any sentient being without their permission, find yourself an inflatable one. Also see, wooden horse.
DOLPHINESTRIAN - someone raised in a dolphin home
DELPHIC-NESTRIAN - someone raised by an Oracle
DELPHIN-ESTRIAL - pertaining to hormones from a lowering plant of the family Ranunculaceae
MEANING: noun: A peevish, pessimistic person.
ETYMOLOGY: After Mrs Gummidge, a grumpy old widow in Charles Dickens’s novel David Copperfield (1850). She likes to say, “I am a lone lorn creetur’ ... and everythink goes contrairy with me.” Earliest documented use: 1873.
GLUMMIDGE - pessimist; one who is always down in the mouth (no, silly, not your dentist)
GUMMI-DOGE - a miniature jelly candy in the shape of a Venetian magistrate
GUNMIDGE - a tiny insect that fouls your rifle barrel and causes your shot to miss
GUMRIDGE - what your teeth plug into (see "alveolar ridge")
MEANING: noun: Someone filled with energy, cheerfulness, and optimism.
ETYMOLOGY: After Tigger, a tiger in A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Earliest documented use: 1981.
TRIGGER - a black-and-orange-striped horse
TIGGET - what you get frob a cop with a cold whed he pulls you over for speedig
TIOGER - a small town in New York State, 115 miles southwest of UTIGGER and about ten miles from the Pennsylvania border
PRONUNCIATION: (DEB-ee DOU-nuhr)
MEANING: noun: Someone who is persistently negative and pessimist.
ETYMOLOGY: After Debbie Downer, a character in the television series Saturday Night Live, who frequently brings bad news in even the most cheerful situations. You can also call her a killjoy. Earliest documented use: 2004.
DEBBIE DOWNER - That would be Eddie. (At least the first one was)
DOBBIE DOWNER - Bellatrix Lestrange. With a silver dagger. In the Malfoys' dining room.
DEBBIE DROWNER - unknown. (Wait - it was Natalie Wood who drowned. Oh well - the perp is still unknown)
MEANING: noun: Extreme optimism, even under most hopeless circumstances.
ETYMOLOGY: After Mark Tapley, a character in Charles Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-44). Earliest documented use: 1857.
NOTES: The mission of Mark Tapley is to remain “jolly” under all circumstances. It is tested when he accompanies his boss Martin Chuzzlewit on a trip to America and comes down with malaria while living in a swamp. When asked how he’s doing, he responds: “Floored for the present, sir, but jolly!” Other examples of words coined after characters from the same book are pecksniffian and gamp.
"TABLE Y"-ISM - belief that one is always placed at the end of the list
STAPLEY-ISM - belief that one is always left hanging by a thin wire
TALLEY-ISM - government by consensus ("Them's my views, and if you don't like 'em, I'll change them")
MEANING: noun: A gloomy, pessimistic person.
ETYMOLOGY: After Eeyore, a donkey in A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh (1926). Earliest documented use: 1932.
NOTES: Eeyore is named onomatopoeically, after the braying call of a donkey. He’s the most depressing character in the Pooh universe -- the antithesis of Tigger. He keeps losing his tail. His house keeps getting knocked down. How can you blame him for being gloomy and pessimistic? Still, he’s a hopelessly lovable character.
EEE YORE - when we wore very wide shoes
EEK! ORE! - We struck it rich!
e. e. LORE - history of Mr cummings
PRONUNCIATION: (FRY-day fays)
MEANING: noun: A glum expression or a person with such an expression.
ETYMOLOGY: From the time when Fridays were days of fasting. Earliest documented use: 1592.
NOTES: Today, most people look forward to Fridays (TGIF: Thank God It’s Friday), but it wasn’t always so. These days Friday means the weekend is near, but back when religion ran day-to-day life, in some religions a Friday was marked as a day of fasting or at least abstaining from meat. Hence, a Friday came to be associated with a gloomy face.
FRIDAY FARCE - what occasionally results from the office "casual Friday" dress code
FRIDAY FACT - In France, Friday is the traditional market day, and is thus called Vendredi: the French word for "to sell" is "vendre," as in English "vend" and "vendor."
FRIDAY LACE - one of seven, if you have a different pair of shoelaces for each day of the week
PRONUNCIATION: (SUHN-day punch)
MEANING: noun: A powerful, devastating blow.
ETYMOLOGY: In boxing, a Sunday punch is another name for a knockout punch, one that leaves an opponent unable to continue fighting. It’s not clear what the significance of Sunday is in Sunday punch. It could be because most boxing matches took place on a weekend and/or a Sunday punch supposedly knocked an opponent out till the following week. Earliest documented use: 1915.
SUNDAY LUNCH - what you have instead of Sunday Dinner so you don't get a paunch
SUNDAY PINCH - so you won't fall asleep during the sermon
SUNDAE PUNCH - a yummy dessert made of ice cream with whipped cream and a cherry on top, floating on a large bowl of seltzer water
PRONUNCIATION: (bloo MUHN-day)
MEANING: noun: A depressing Monday.
ETYMOLOGY: It’s not confirmed what makes a Monday a blue Monday. It could be because Monday means returning to work after a weekend’s fun and relaxation. It could also be a result of a weekend spent drinking, resulting in a hangover and a depressed state of mind typically associated with the color blue. Earliest documented use: 1790.
BLUE MOONDAY - the second full moon in a given calendar month (occurs rarely)
BLUME MONDAY - Day in honor of a prolific author of Young Adult fiction
CLUE MONDAY - our school is having a Game Day early next week!
PRONUNCIATION: (SUHN-day dry-vuhr)
MEANING: noun: One who drives slowly, poorly, or overcautiously.
ETYMOLOGY: What’s Sunday got to do with driving slowly, poorly, or overcautiously? The allusion here is to someone who is out for a leisurely Sunday drive taking the scenic route. Or one who drives poorly because they drive infrequently. Or they drive overcautiously in the manner of someone who comes out to drive only on Sunday when there’s little traffic. Earliest documented use: 1877.
SUNDAY DROVER - gentleman farmer who visits his livestock on weekends only
SUNDAY DRIER - never could get it through his head about "Monday Washday"!
SUNDRY DRIVER - licensed for all kinds of motor vehicle
PRONUNCIATION: (guhrl FRY-day)
MEANING: noun: A female assistant, especially in an office, who does a wide variety of duties.
ETYMOLOGY: Patterned after man Friday in Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe (1719). Earliest documented use: 1928.
GIRL FORIDAY - female for only 24 hours
GIL FRIDAY - Dodger first-baseman Hodges was Mister Friday, the way Reggie Jackson was Mr October
G.I. ALFRID? AY! - Are you Infantry Private Alfrid?
MEANING: noun: Not growing old, or looking younger than one’s age.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin agerasia, from Greek agerasia, from geras (old age), which also gave us gerontology. Earliest documented use: 1706.
NOTES: Do people tell you you look ten years younger than you really are? There’s chronological age, determined by when you were born, totally out of your control. Then there’s biological age (calculate it), which is how well you have aged, and it is quite likely up to you.
If you have ever wanted a word to describe that youthful look you have maintained from regular exercise, healthful eating, and conscientious living, your wish is granted. As for actually not growing old, you ask too much.
GERANIA - several plants with clusters of bright red/vermillion flowers
AVERASIA - to infer the existence of a large Eastern continent
AGORASIA - an oriental Greek marketplace
MEANING: noun: An abrupt breaking off in the middle of a sentence, as if one is unable or unwilling to proceed.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin aposiopesis, from Greek aposiopesis, from apo- (intensive prefix) + siopan (to be silent), from siope (silence). Earliest documented use: 1578.
POSIOPESIS - the residue of ripping a flower into shreds
APOSIOPEPSIS - the competititon for aposio-Cokes
APOGIOPESIS - music with a lot of stepwise broken chords
MEANING: adjective: Withering without falling off.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin marcescent- (beginning to wither), present participle of marcescere (to wither), from marcere (to wither). Earliest documented use: 1727.
MARCHESCENT - growing later in the Spring
MARCIE'S CENT - that little girl in the Peanuts comic strip has a penny
MARESCENT - how a stallion can tell when a horse is in heat
MEANING: adjective: Relating to rocks. For example, living on, carved on, growing on, made of, etc.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin rupes (rock). Earliest documented use: 1834.
GRUPESTRAL - synchronous menstruation
RUE STRAL - a small street in suburban Strasbourg
RUPE'S TRAIL - a pathway through what is now known as Sequoia Park [California], first followed by explorer Carlos Rupe
MEANING: noun: The feeling or the belief that everyone around is out to get you.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin prodere (to betray). Earliest documented use: 1898.
PRODITTOMANIA - an overwhelming drive to agree
'PHRODITOMANIA - a need to spring full-grown for your father's head
PROD-IT-OMANIA - an incurable need to disturb sleeping dogs
MEANING: noun: One who misleads or betrays.
ETYMOLOGY: After Sinon, a Greek who, by his false tale, persuaded the Trojans into taking the wooden horse inside Troy. From Greek sinomai (to harm or hurt). Earliest documented use: 1581.
NOTES: Sinon, a Greek, was found by the Trojans all by himself. He told the Trojans that the Greeks had left and abandoned him because of his rivalry with Odysseus. He said that the Greeks had made the wooden horse as an offering to gods to help them have a safe journey home. He claimed that they made the horse really big so Trojans couldn’t take it inside the city. The Trojans fell for his story, dragged the horse inside, and the rest, as they say, is mythology.
Sinon was the grandson of Autolycus, known for his skill in theft and trickery. Autolycus himself was the son of Hermes, the god of cunning and theft, among other things. With a lineage like that...
SIFON - a pressurized jar of seltzer water, popularized by Clarabelle the clown
SIGNON - how to access your Facebook account
SIN ON - how to get to Hell in one easy lesson
SÍ, NOON - ¿Is it midday in Madrid?
MEANING: noun: A coarse, buffoonish person.
ETYMOLOGY: From German Grobian (boor, lout), a fictional patron saint of boorish and vulgar people, from German grob (coarse, vulgar). In Latin, Grobianus. Earliest documented use: 1621.
GROBEAN - what Jack the Giant Killer started with
GYROBIAN - early candidate for describing Igor Sikorsky's invention
GRABIAN - describing momeraths, who possess this skill to a high degree (according to Lewis Carroll)
PRONUNCIATION: (shuh-her-uh-ZAHD, -ZAH-duh, -dee)
MEANING: noun: A storyteller, especially one who tells long, entertaining stories.
ETYMOLOGY: After Scheherezade, the wife of a king in One Thousand and One Nights. Earliest documented use: 1851.
NOTES: In One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of stories from the Middle East, the king Shahryar discovers his wife being unfaithful. He learns that his brother’s wife is unfaithful as well. He kills his wife and decides to take revenge on all women by marrying a virgin every day and having her executed the next morning so she never gets an opportunity to cheat. One day it’s the turn of Scheherezade, the vizier’s daughter, to be the bride. She asks the king if she could say farewell to her sister Dunyazad first. The king agrees and the sister, who has been prepared in advance, asks Scheherezade to tell a story. The story is engrossing and the king is awake listening. Scheherezade stops the story just before dawn saying there’s no time left to finish. The king spares her life to find out what happened. The next night she finishes the story and starts another, even more captivating story. And so it goes for 1001 nights and by that time the king has fallen in love with her beauty and intelligence and makes her the queen.
Sheherazade is the patron saint of television script writers, who decide just where to put commercial breaks in a TV show.
SCHEHERANADE - what drunken Romeo sang to Juliet on her balcony
SCHNEE-RAZADE - a particularly beautiful ski excursion in the Bavarian Alps
SHE/HE A ZADIE - the father's biological gender was never conclusively proved
RED QUEEN HYPOTHESIS
PRONUNCIATION: (red kween hy-POTH-uh-sis)
MEANING: noun: The hypothesis that organisms must constantly adapt and evolve in order to survive in an evolutionary arms race.
ETYMOLOGY: Proposed by the biologist Leigh van Valen (1935-2010). Earliest documented use: 1973.
NOTES: In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass the Red Queen tells Alice: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”
Evolutionary biologist Leigh van Valen used that as a metaphor to describe how competing species must keep up with one another. For example, in a predator and prey relationship, if the prey evolves to run faster, the predator must keep up or go extinct.
RED QUEEN HYPO THIS IS - Yoda says he uses it to shoot up a Jedi drug
RED QUEEN HYPNO-THESIS - she was under post-hypnotic suggestion when she said those irrational things in the courtroom
REO QUEEN HYPOTHESIS - I hear the Speedway group was masterminded by her behind the scenes
MEANING: noun: A vain boaster.
ETYMOLOGY: After Rodomonte, the boastful king in Orlando Innamorato by Matteo Boiardo and the sequel Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto. Earliest documented use: 1592. A related word is rodomontade.
R.O. DUMONT - Robert Orrin Dumont, the black sheep of the family
ODO, MONT. - a town in Montana whose boundaries keep shifting
FRODO, MONT - another town, whose citizens were profoundly influenced by The Hobbit
GLAD HAND (or GLAD-HAND)
PRONUNCIATION: (GLAD hand)
MEANING: noun: A hearty welcome or greeting, often insincere.
verb tr., intr.: To greet warmly, often insincerely.
ETYMOLOGY: From glad, from Old English glaed (bright, cheerful) + hand, from Old English hand. Earliest documented use: 1895.
NOTES: Glad-handing is typically associated with politicians, used-car salesmen, and their ilk. There’s often a hidden agenda: they are not greeting so enthusiastically because they are delighted to see you, rather they want something from you. You’d never find a dog glad-handing or glad-pawing you (cats, maybe). When they come running, tails wagging, to greet you at the front door, they mean every bit of it.
GO LAD HAND - Cheers for Odell Beckham the rugby star
LAD HAND - the kid who helps out on the farm
GLAD HANK - Aaron after # 715
1. A post with one or more signs pointing toward one or more places.
2. Something or someone serving as a guide.
ETYMOLOGY: From the resemblance of the sign to the fingers of a hand. Earliest documented use: 1738.
NOTES: A fingerpost is a post with long thin boards pointing toward various locations. These boards may look like fingers on a hand, hence the name. Sometimes these boards actually terminate in a pointing finger. The Oxford English Dictionary lists another sense of the word fingerpost: a parson or a member of the clergy. As this citation from the A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1785 tells it:
“Finger post, a parson, so called, because like the finger post, he points out a way he probably will never go, i.e. the way to heaven.
SINGERPOST - my job as resident vocal soloist
FINGERPEST - someone with a very low threshold for flipping people the bird...
GINGERPOST - an extremely tentative Facebook entry
MEANING: noun: Government that rules by physical force.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek chiro- (hand) + -cracy (rule), alluding to a rule by a strong hand or a heavy-handed rule. Earliest documented use: 1677.
CAIROCRACY - government by Egypt
SHIROCRACY - government by Hobbits
CHIROCRAZY - when your specialist in spinal manipulation claims to cure cancer, heart disease, and diabetes
MEANING: adjective, adverb
1. Without using boxing gloves.
2. Rough; unrestrained by rules or scruples.
ETYMOLOGY: From bare, from Old English baer + knuckle, diminutive of Middle Low German knoke (bone). Earliest documented use: 1883.
BAREKNICKLE - overgrowth on the bottom of an Scottish boat
BAREN UNCKLE - my mother's brother is having a problem getting his wife pregnant
BAREK NICKLE - a five-cent coin with the likeness of Former President Obama on the obverse
MEANING: noun: Release from slavery, servitude, or restraint.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin manumittere (to free), from manus (hand) + mittere (to let go). Ultimately from the Indo-European root man- (hand), which also gave us manual, manage, maintain, manicure, maneuver, manufacture, manuscript, command, manure, manque, legerdemain, and mortmain. Earliest documented use: 1452.
MAN OMISSION - concern for others, all too often
MANUFISSION - splitting by hand, as for example a log
MANY MISS ION - and without them there would be no chemistry
MEANING: adjective: Difficult to deal with; contrary.
ETYMOLOGY: From Middle English fro- (away, from) + -ward (moving or facing in a specific direction). Earliest documented use: 1340.
NOTES: If you recall the phrase to-and-fro (which is short for “to and from”), you can easily sense where froward is going. It’s the opposite of toward. Over time, the senses of the two words have shifted so they are not antonyms any more.
UROWARD - where the bladder specialist admits patients
PRO-WARD - 1. I'm improving, and might even go on the Tour soon!
2. ...and against Roebuck
FRO-WAND - how Hobbits do magic
PRONUNCIATION: (LIST-luhs, -lis)
MEANING: adjective: Devoid of energy or enthusiasm.
ETYMOLOGY: From list (desire, inclination), from Old English lystan (to be pleasing). Ultimately from the Indo-European root las- (to be eager), which also gave us lust. Earliest documented use: 1440.
LASTLESS - sign in shoemaker's shop: "Closed; out of materials"
LINTLESS - my belly button is quite clean
WISTLESS - not wanting for or desirous of anything
LISTLOSS - now how am I supposed to do my shopping?
1. Lazy, lethargic, averse to exertion.
2. Painless or causing little pain; slow to develop or heal. Used in medicine, for example, indolent ulcer.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin indolent-, stem of indolens, from Latin in- (not) + dolens, present participle of dolere (to suffer, feel pain) which also gave us dolor, condole, and dole. Earliest documented use: 1663.
INDOLANT - a six-legged creature whose biochemistry is based on indole rather than formic acid
INDY LENT - Professor Jones let his students borrow his fedora
IN DOLE NOT - Scrooge's motto
1. Stately; dignified.
2. Characteristic of a mature, plump, unfashionable woman.
ETYMOLOGY: From matron (a married woman; a woman in charge), from Latin matrona (married woman, wife), from mater (mother). Ultimately from the Indo-European root mater (mother), which also gave us mother, material, matter, matrix, and matrimony. Earliest documented use: 1590.
MACRONLY - how France is governed these days
MARRON-LY - the way a chestnut would
MATRON ALY - Nurse in charge of the Hospital de los Niños in Hollywood
MEANING: adjective: Courageous; brave; bold.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin valor (worth), from valere (to be well or strong). Earliest documented use: 1477.
CALOROUS - rich [food]; will put weight on you in a hurry if you eat too much
VAPORO-US - a now-failed chain of shops selling e-cigarettes
VALOR OPUS - any long saga about the exploits of the courageous, brave, and bold
MEANING: noun: An idle spectator.
ETYMOLOGY: Of uncertain origin, perhaps from Lincolnshire dialect gawn and gooz, both of which mean to stare. Earliest documented use: 1904.
NOTES: Rubberneckers gawk at highway accidents, trainspotters spot trains, and gongoozlers goozle gons. Well, no, language doesn’t work like that. Originally, a gongoozler was a person who liked to hang out around canals watching passing boats. Over time, the word has evolved to refer to anyone who likes to stare at some activity. See also, kibitzer.
GONGOOGLER - the search-engine-company employee isn't at her desk just now
GOING OOZLER - becoming slimy
GONGOOSLER - done for...
MEANING: noun: A congenial companion.
adjective: Enthusiastically friendly.
ETYMOLOGY: Short for the former greeting “Hail-fellow well met.” Earliest documented use: 1577.
HALL-FELLOW - patrols the school corridors while class is in session
HAIL-FERLOW - how an orthographically-challenged soldier exults over his week-end pass
HAIL (bellow) - dialog and stage directions for a bit part in Julius Ceasar
HAIR-FELLOW - tonsorial expert (Both terms have fallen from the modern vocabulary in favor of the shorter "barber".)
MEANING: noun: An expert who is knowledgeable enough to pass critical judgment in a field, especially in fine arts, cuisines, etc.
ETYMOLOGY: From French connoisseur (connaisseur in Modern French), from Old French conoisseor, from conoistre (to know), from Latin cognoscere (to learn or get to know), from co- (together) + gnoscere (to know), (to learn). Ultimately from the Indo-European root gno- (to know), which is also the source of know, recognize, acquaint, ignore, diagnosis, notice, normal, agnostic, incognito, anagnorisis (the moment of recognition or discovery), and prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces). Earliest documented use: 1719.
CONNOISSOEUR - it's a wise child who knows his own sister
CON - NO, I'SE SUR - It's OK, Henri, he ain't puttin' you on
CONN OISTEUR - poorly-spelled bivalve mollusk from New London, CT
1. A vagrant or drifter. But
2. A tall, thin, long-limbed person.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English gang/gong (manner of going, way, passage), from gangen (to go). Earliest documented use: 1450.
GANOREL - Lear's orthographically-challenged daughter
GONGREL - My dog wasn't pure-bred, and it's sad that I can't find him
GANGREN - past participle of gangrene
MEANING: noun: A boorish, lewd, and crude person who makes a conspicuous display of wealth.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin vulgus (mob, common people). Earliest documented use: 1833.
VULGARIAN - a boorish person from Sofia, depending on whether you're using b-de-burro or v-de-vaca
VOLGARIAN - a Russian-river dweller
VULGAR HAN - Mr Solo's un-cool alter ego
PULGARIAN - a Spaniard who's all thumbs
MEANING: adjective: Stunned, confused, and exhausted as a result of experiencing intense stress, such as in a war zone.
ETYMOLOGY: From shell, from Old English sciell + shock, from French choc, from choquer (to collide). Earliest documented use: 1898.
SHELL-SHACKED - living in a "shellter" made from old oyster and clam and mussel and scallop shells
HELL-SHOCKED - much distressed after a brief glimpse of the afterlife
SHE'LL SHOO KED - the girl is going to chase away the sneaker
PRONUNCIATION: (HATCH-it job)
MEANING: noun: Malicious criticism meant to harm someone’s reputation.
ETYMOLOGY: From hatchet (a small, short-handled axe), from Old French (hachete), diminutive of hache (axe) + job, of unknown origin. Earliest documented use: 1925.
NOTES: In the beginning a hatchet job was a murder carried out by a hired Chinese assassin in the US, known as a hatchet man. Over time, the word began to be used metaphorically for verbal criticism meant to destroy someone’s reputation. Another hatchet idiom is to "bury the hatchet," meaning to end hostilities and reconcile.
HITCHET JOB - attach the horses to the wagon
HATCHET JOY - easy work for a lumberjack
HATCHET JIB - a small sail in the prow of the boat that lets it slice through the wind
BATTLE-AXE (or BATTLE-AX)
1. A broadax used as a weapon of war.
2. A typically older woman with a reputation for being sharp-tongued, domineering, and aggressive.
ETYMOLOGY: From battle, from Latin battuere (to beat) + ax, from Old English aecs (ax). It’s not entirely clear how this term came to be applied to a fierce woman. Perhaps it’s because a sharp-tongued woman could cut down someone as well as an ax, metaphorically speaking. Earliest documented use: 1380 (1896 for the figurative meaning).
B.A. TITLE AXE - the lumberjack's tool that went to college
(see also B.A. TITLE X - ...because she could postpone having children until she wanted them
BATT, LEAH - sister of Batt, Rachel
CATTLE-AX - (I don't think I want to discuss this one)
PRONUNCIATION: (SMOH-king gun)
MEANING: noun: Something that serves as incriminating evidence, especially of a crime.
ETYMOLOGY: From the idea that someone holding a recently fired gun that still has the smoke coming out of the barrel would make for incontrovertible evidence that they were the one who shot the victim. Earliest documented use: 1970s.
SMOKING GYN - you're my doctor, she said; you should know better
I'M OK-ING GUN - Here's your license to carry
AMOK-ING GUN - fires a psychosis-inducing drug instead of a tranquilizer
SUMO KING GUN - even big wrestlers sometimes have to defend themselves
PRONUNCIATION: (grayt gunz)
MEANING: noun: Someone or something impressive.
adverb: With energy and enthusiasm; successfully.
interjection: Expressing surprise or disbelief.
ETYMOLOGY: In the beginning, great gun referred to a large firearm that required mounting. Eventually it came to be applied metaphorically. The adverbial use started in horse races. Earliest documented use: 1430.
GROAT GUNS - ditto for kernels of grain
GREAT RUNS - record-breaking streaks of anything
GRE AT UNS - prerequisite for admission for graduate study at the University of Nova Scotia
FULGOR oR FULGUOR
MEANING: noun: Splendor; brightness.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin fulgor (brightness), from fulgere (to shine). Ultimately from the Indo-European root bhel- (to shine or burn), which also gave us blaze, blank, blond, bleach, blanket, flame, refulgent, fulminate, and effulgent. Earliest documented use: 1600
FULIGOR - a zombie wrestling hold (cf. HALF-IGOR)
NUL-GOR - rated G
FOULGOR - rated XXX for violence
MEANING: noun: An animal living in the nest, burrow, or home of another.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin inquilinus (tenant, lodger), from in- (into) + colere (to dwell). Earliest documented use: 1640.
INQUIRINE - curious
INQUININE - malaria-resistant
MINQUILINE - furry
SINQUILINE - transgressing (see also INIQUILINE)
INQUILINK - precursor of the fountain pen
MEANING: noun: Pleasure; ecstasy.
ETYMOLOGY: From French jouissance, from jouir (to enjoy). Earliest documented use: 1484.
LOUISSANCE - regal bearing
JOUISTANCE - position taken by expert game-players
JOLUISSANCE- boxing prowess
MEANING: noun: A hobgoblin, scarecrow, or a person of frightening appearance.
ETYMOLOGY: From Scottish, from worry (to harass) + cow (hobgoblin). Earliest documented use: 1711.
WORRI-CON - annual gathering of Fussbudgets
TWO RR ICON - Chessie (Chesapeake and Ohio Railway); Roxy (Long Island Rail Road)
WORRICOWL - worn by monks to indicate their bafflement over the ambiguities of this world
MEANING: adjective: Glassy or transparent.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin hyaloides, from Greek hualoeies (glass-like), from hualos (glass). Earliest documented use: 1835.
HOYALOID - like a Georgetown sports team
HYALOIN - by going to school in Brooklyn, Noo Yawk
HYALOIS - 1. Clark Kent's informal greeting to Daily Planet reporter Lane; 2. Newspaper daily-and-Sunday comic strip
PRONUNCIATION: (KOR-bee mes-uhn-juhr)
MEANING: noun: A messenger who does not arrive or return in time.
ETYMOLOGY: noun: From allusion to the crow that Noah had sent out from his ark. From corbin (raven), from Old French corbin, from Latin corvus (raven, crow). Earliest documented use: 1525.
CORBIE MESS ANGER - rage at the bad food in the Crow army
SCORBIE MESSENGER - brings word of crippling Vitamin C deficiency
GORBIE MESSENGER - ambassador from the USSR between 1985 and 1991
LAND OF NOD
PRONUNCIATION: (land ov nod)
MEANING: noun: Sleep.
ETYMOLOGY: From a punning reference to the land of Nod in the Bible. Earliest documented use: 1738.
BAND OF NOD - plays nothing but lullabies
LAND IF NOD - stay up in the air until I say so!
LANE OF NOD - the pavement drone induces Highway Hypnosis
LAND OF NED - the Devil's country
MEANING: noun: One who destroys; another name for the Devil.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin, from Greek Apollyon, from apollynai (to destroy), from apo- (from, away) + ollynai (to destroy). Earliest documented use: 1382.
NOTES: The Bible’s Book of Revelation 9:11 introduces Apollyon as: “And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.”
APOLLO-N - the fourteenth Moon mission
A POLLY-EON - the interval between crackers
A POLL-CON - fake news
CAPO LLYON - a Mafia don in FFrance
MAGDALENE or MAGDALEN
PRONUNCIATION: (MAG-duh-leen, -luhn)
MEANING: noun: A penitent woman, particularly a reformed prostitute.
ETYMOLOGY: After Mary Magdalene, a Biblical character who was a follower of Jesus. Earliest documented use: 1563.
NOTES: The name Magdalene means “of Magdala” in Greek and is derived after a town on the Sea of Galilee. The name Magdala, in turn, means a tower in Aramaic. So here we have a word coined after a person, who was named after a place, which was named after a thing. The word is also used for a home for reformed/retired prostitutes. Magdalene has given birth to another eponym, maudlin meaning “overly sentimental”.
Pope Gregory I, in a sermon delivered in 581 CE, conflated an unnamed “sinner” with Mary Magdalene. Pope Paul VI fixed the error in 1969, but the damage was done. Mary Magdalene forever remains identified as a former prostitute in popular culture. It took them 1,388 years to acknowledge the error. In comparison, Galileo got off easy. The Church took a mere 359 years to say that he was right after all.
In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Llved twelve little girls in two straight lines
The smallest one was MADALENE.
-- [Adapted from Ludwig Bemelmans]
MANDALEN - a multi-stringed instrument, played by plucking or picking the strings
MAGNALEN - Bernstein's been putting on weight lately, hasn't he?
PAGDALENE or PAGDELEN - a penitent man, or reformed gigolo
MEANING: noun: A giant; a person or organization of enormous size or power.
ETYMOLOGY: After Goliath, a giant Philistine warrior, who was slain by David using a sling and a stone. Earliest documented use: 1607.
NOTES: “David and Goliath” has become a metaphor for an underdog facing a much larger, powerful opponent, in sports, business, politics, and beyond.
GO LITH - cheering for Stone Academy (Connecticut)
GLIATH - a supporting structure of nerve cells in the CNS
GOLI ASH - what's left when you've lost the hockey game in a shootout and your defense is really burnt up about it
MEANING: noun: A lecture of a moralizing or admonishing nature, usually tedious and trite.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old French omelie (homily), from Latin (homilia), from Greek homilia (assembly or sermon), from homilos (crowd), from homou (together). Ultimately from the Indo-European root sem- (one), which also gave us simultaneous, assemble, simple, Sanskrit sandhi (union), Russian samovar (a metal urn, literally, self-boiler), and Greek hamadryad (a wood nymph, who lives in a tree and dies when the tree dies), dissimulate, and simulacrum. Earliest documented use: 1386.
HOMINY - 1. a specified quantity
2. What the Boston a capella group sings in perfect
HOPILY - how the rabbit family lived ever after
HO, MILTY - greetings to my favorite comedian (and Uncle)
MEANING: adjective: Having a row of oblique notches.
ETYMOLOGY: Probably from Old English ragg. Earliest documented use: 1660.
RAG UGLY - an unprepossessing rag
RAGALY - like a sitar melody
RAGURY - a branch of nautical law pertaining to anger management
RAGU LYE - used to make soap from spaghetti sauce
RAJULY - the Egyptian Sun God who in mid-summer is unusually powerful (at least in the northern hemisphere)
RAOUL Y. - a Frenchman whose identity is being protected
Lots of nice words in this category of "false adverbs." There's
- "apply," which doesn't mean "like a small program for your smartphone"
- "imply" (like one of Santa's elves)
- "reply" (like your fitness or body-building exercise -
- the minimalist "ply"
- the ambivalent "supply," which is either a false adverb or a true one (depending on how you use it)
- "surly" (they don't all have a P in them)
and so on.
MEANING:] . verb tr.: To enclose in complete armor.
ETYMOLOGY: From em- (in) + panoply (a full suit of armor), from Greek panoplia (a complete suit of armor), from pan (all) + hopla (arms, armor), plural of hoplon (weapon). Earliest documented use: 1784.
ENPANOPLY - to remove half a suit of armor
EMPANOPOLY - a game involving the selection of jurors
EMPANOPLAY - kindly remove performing Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto from your next concert program
MEANING: noun: Skill in using or coining words.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin logodaedalia, from Greek logodaidalia, from logodaidalos, from logos (word) + daedalus (skillful). Earliest documented use: 1727.
LOGODAEDAILY - to coin a word every day (boy, does this sound self-referential!)
LOGO-DAREDALY - like an audacious symbol
BLOGODAEDALY - a weblog consisting of only slanted or even made-up statements
MEANING: noun: Liveliness and ease of conversation.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek (pleasantness in conversation), from eu- (well) + trapely (to turn). Earliest documented use: 1596.
NOTES: Can you talk to anyone on any topic with ease? If so, you have the gift of eutrapely, also known as eutrapelia. It was one of Aristotle’s dozen virtues.
.EDU.TRAPELY - being shmoozed by the University fundraiser
EUTAPELY - recorded in pristine condition, with the 18 minutes intact
EUTRAVELY - the Bon Voyage you wish your departing friends
EXTRAPELY - recently out of a snare
MEANING: noun: Boasting or boastfulness.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin jactantia, from jactantem, present participle of jactare (to throw about), frequentative of jacere (to throw). Earliest documented use: 1623.
TACTANCY - of a sensitive and inoffensive nature
FACTANCY - a misrepresentation of the existing state of affairs; see "truthiness"
JACFANCY - the pumpkin has been carved into an very interesting image
(compare JACANCY, where the pumpkin is empty)
MEANING: adjective: Rice-eating.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin oryza (rice) + -vorous (feeding). Earliest documented use: 1857.
OROZIVOROUS - Gold-eating. Not recommended. See the legend of King Midas
OYZIVOROUS - eating yourself up inside with worry. Also not recommended.
OREZIVOROUS - eating creme sandwich cookies. Recommended Warned about by the dentist who fills your cavities.
TORYZIVOROUS - what the Whigs wish their party could be in Parliament
MEANING: adjective: Playfully impudent or mischievous.
ETYMOLOGY: From French gamine (a pert, impudent, or mischievous girl), feminine of gamin (a young boy working as a glassblower’s assistant), of obscure origin. Earliest documented use: 1886.
GARMINESQUE - like a dedicated GPS tracker
AMINESQUE - like an organic acid
GAMINE-SLUE - when the imp's sled spins 'round and 'round on the way down the hill
MEANING: adjective: Divided in two; two-pronged.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English twi- (two) + forked, from forca, from Latin furca (fork, yoke). Earliest documented use: 1635.
TWOFORKED - one in each hand - can eat ambidextrously (and twice as fast).
Compare TRI-FORKED, which pushes the concept one further for polybrachiates
TWIN-FORKED - banished to southern New Mexico
TWICORKED - hermetically sealed, like some wine-bottles. An extra-long corkscrew is required to open such.
MEANING: noun: The fear of riding in a vehicle.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek hamaxa (wagon) + -phobia (fear).
AMAYOPHOBIA - fear of dry BLT sandwiches
AMATOPHOBIA - fear of conjugating Latin verbs
ASAXOPHOBIA - fear of classical jazz
MEANING: noun: Someone or something outstanding, remarkable, or unusual.
ETYMOLOGY: Of uncertain origin. Perhaps a blend of hummer and dinger, both meaning someone or something exceptional. Earliest documented use: 1883.
BUMDINGER - a pitched baseball that hits the batter in the backside (see also HAMDINGER)
HUMWINGER - a small bird whose wings move extremely fast, permitting it to hover in the air
HUMMING-ER - the resident in the Emergency Room was singing more quietly to herself
MEANING: noun: Something or someone remarkable in excellence, intensity, strength, etc.
ETYMOLOGY: A fanciful coinage from rip (to tear) + snorter (something extraordinary). Earliest documented use: 1840.
R.I.P. SHORTER - fictitious short obituary for a long distance runner
RIPE SNORTER - cocaine user in dire need of a bath
RIPS NORTEL - FCC complaint prior to the company filing for bankruptcy
MEANING: noun: 1. Clamor or uproar. 2. Sensational or extravagant promotion.
verb tr.: To promote or publicize in a sensational or extravagant manner.
ETYMOLOGY: Of uncertain origin. Earliest documented use: 1901.
BALL ! SHOO ! - what you say when the dog keeps jumping up to lick your face instead of chasing the ball you just threw
BALL-Y-HOOP - name for the game of basketball, in Madrid
BALLY HOBO - vagrant who mostly haunts a Las Vegas hotel/casino
1. Excessive or unnecessary ornamentation.
2. Fuss; commotion.
ETYMOLOGY: Foofaraw is a word from the American West, but how was it formed? Nobody knows. Perhaps from French fanfaron or Spanish fanfarrón. Earliest documented use: 1848.
FOOBAR - AW! - expression of dismay upon seeing a situation messed up beyond all recognition...
FOE OF ARAW - Araw's mortal enemy
FOO FARAD - a placeholder in the capacitance calculation formula
MEANING: noun: An exceptional person, thing, or event.
ETYMOLOGY: Of uncertain origin. Earliest documented use: 1904.
NOTES: The word has a number of variants: lollapaloosa, lalapalooza, lallapalooza, but they all mean the same thing: something or someone truly remarkable. It’s also the name of a popular music festival.
LOLA PALOOZA - Frankie Palooza's wife. Whatever she wants, she gets...
LOLLA PALOOKA - the boxer's daughter, who also starred in a movie
OLLA PALOOZA - an earthenware jar created and decorated by the Italian artist Ignatio Palooza
MEANING: noun: Something that provides protection from the rain, especially an umbrella.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek ombro- (rain shower) + -fuge (repelling). Earliest documented use: 1869.
HOMBRIFUGE - Señor is running away
UMBRIFUGE - a spinning device to mix brown crayons
OMB REFUGE - a place of shelter from the government's Office of Management and Budget
PS: I thought an "umbrella" something that, by providing shade (umbra), protected from the sun like a "parasol," rather than from the rain? Or do shade and rainshowers share a common derivation?
1. An example or model.
2. An anecdote used to illustrate a moral truth or support an argument.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin exemplum (example), from eximere (to take out), from ex- (out) + emere (to take). Ultimately from the Indo-European root em- (to take or distribute), which also gave us example, sample, assume, consume, prompt, ransom, vintage, redeem, diriment, subsume, and peremptory. Earliest documented use: 1482.
EXEMPLUS - add something to XM
EXAM PLUM - a very easy test question
EXEMBLUM - a company's previous logo
MEANING: adjective: Of or relating to the internal organs or viscera.
ETYMOLOGY: From splanchnicus, from Greek splankhnikos, from splankhna (entrails). Earliest documented use: 1694.
SPLANCH - NICE ! - what a great Cannonball dive that was!
S-PLAN CYNIC - I'm not very optimistic about the nineteenth plan
'SPLAN CHIC - On the other hand, it's very much à la mode...
MEANING: noun: A hiccup.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin singultus (sob, gasp, hiccup). Earliest documented use: 1754.
I SINGUL. TU? - Casanova's pickup line
SIN, 'GUSTUS - encourage the Emperor to misbehave
USING "ULTUS" - something never to be done in Latin class
MEANING: verb tr.: To search into; to investigate.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin indagare (to search). Earliest documented use: 1623.
INDIAGATE - political scandal in New Delhi
WIN DA GATE - take home the door prize at a Brooklyn show
INK A GATE - it happens on Halloween if you ignore "Trick or Treat!"
1. Soon after.
3. From time to time.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English ęft (again) + sona (soon). Ultimately from the Indo-European root apo- (off or away), which is also the source of after, off, awkward, post, puny, appose, and apposite. Earliest documented use: 1000.
LEFT'SOON'S - departed at the earliest possible moment
EFT'NOONS - times when the sun is descending
EFTSOOPS - what you make when there are no newts to put in the chowder
FAUTE DE MIEUX
PRONUNCIATION: (foht duh MYOO/MYUH)
MEANING: adverb: For want of something better.
ETYMOLOGY: From French faute (lack) + de (of) + mieux (better). Earliest documented use: 1766.
FAUTE LEMIEUX - the Penguins are in trouble; Mario can't play tonight.
FAURÉ DE MIEUX - Gabriel's Requiem is the best ever
FAUTE DE MOI/EUX - Martin Buber was wrong. It's not "I/Thou;" it should be "Me/Them."
SAUTÉ DE MIEUX - That'd be Javier Sotomayor of Cuba. He high-jumped 2.45 m (8 ft 1⁄2 in) in Salamanca, Spain on 27 July 1993 to set the current Word's Record
1. With all one’s strength.
2. At full speed.
3. With great haste.
ETYMOLOGY: From a- (on, in, to) + main, from Old English maegen (strength, power). Earliest documented use: 1540.
ARMAIN - signature of a dyslexic fashion designer
A.M. PAIN - known to almost everyone 75 and older
AMAZIN' - graceless
MEANING: adverb: Certainly.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old French certes, from Latin certus (certain). Earliest documented use: 1250.
CERRES - largest asteroid we have yet identified, considered by some a dwarf planet
CERTERS - people who go about certifying things
CERATES - makes a saw-toothed edge
MEANING: adverb, adjective: Outdoors; in the open air.
ETYMOLOGY: From Italian alfresco (in the fresh). Earliest documented use: 1717.
ALFRED'S C.O. - that'd be Bruce Wayne, right?
AL FRISCO - where Señor goes to see Nob Hill and the Golden Gate Bridge
AL FRIES CO. - racecar driver makes the best chips in London
PRONUNCIATION: (AD LYT-uhm)
MEANING: adjective: A person appointed by a court to represent someone, such as a child, who is considered incapable of representing themselves in a lawsuit.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin ad litem (literally, for the lawsuit), from ad (toward) + litigare (to go to law), from lis (dispute) + agere (to drive). Earliest documented use: 1683.
ADD LITEM - put another case on the Court's docket
AB LITEM - away from the legal proceedings, behind closed doors
...AND LIT 'EM - they piled up all the sticks to make a bonfire...
1. Traveling, especially in search of adventure.
2. Erring, straying, or moving aimlessly.
ETYMOLOGY: For 1: From Old French errer (to travel), from Latin iterare (to travel), from iter (road, trip).
For 2: From Old French errer (to err), from Latin errare (to wander or to err).
Earliest documented use: 1400s.
NOTES: How in the world can a word have so many different meanings? Blame homographs, two different words having the same spelling (lead, the verb & lead, the metal). In the case of today’s word, two Latin words (iterare and errare) evolved into the Old French errer. This homographic confusion continued when the words traveled to English. As if this weren’t enough, the word errant has morphed into another word resulting in further confusion: arrant.
Only the first adjective form is used postpositively.
TERRANT - Earthlike
E.R. RANT - there's a madman yelling and screaming in the Emergency Room!
'ERRANG - what you caught yesterday when you were fishing (past tense of 'ERRING)
MEANING: adjective: Planned or premeditated; not by accident.
ETYMOLOGY: From afore (before) + thought, from Old English thoht. Ultimately from the Indo-European root tong- (to think or feel), which also gave us the words think and thank. Earliest documented use: 1472.
AFRO RETHOUGHT - reconsidering your 60s hairdo
AMORE THOUGHT - When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie (see also ADORE THOUGHT)
"A" FOR E THROUGH T - accolades for the middle (though chunky) volume of an encyclopedia
MEANING: adjective: Very old; beyond memory or recorded history.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin in- (not) + memoria (memory). Earliest documented use: 1593.
IN MEMORIAL - where Abraham Lincoln's statue is in Washington, D.C.
VIM MEMORIAL - a tribute to my get-up-and-go, which (no surprise!) has got-up-and-went
GIMME-MORIAL - describing the behavior of the insatiably greedy
MEANING: adjective: Having special distinction or recognition in a field.
noun: A person honored for achieving distinction in a field.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin laureatus (crowned with laurel), from laurea (crown of laurel), feminine of laureus (of laurel), from laurus (laurel). Earliest documented use: 1395.
NOTES: In ancient Greece, a wreath or a crown of laurel sprigs was used to honor people. The word baccalaureate as a synonym for bachelor’s degree was formed from the alteration of Latin baccalarius to conform to bacca lauri (laurel berry).
L.A. URATE - what gives many kidney stones in Los Angeles
LAURA, TE... - attempted words of affection from Laura's bashful Latino boy-friend
FAURÉ ATE - Gabriel the composer did this in restaurants
MEANING: noun: The love of books.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek biblio- (book) + -philia (love).
BILIOPHILIA - love of anger
BIBIOPHILIA - love of Netanyahu
BIBLI-OPHELIA - beloved of Hamlet, reads a lot of books
1. A volume of selected literary passages, usually by one author.
2. A selection of literary passages from a foreign language, especially one assembled for studying a language.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek chrestomatheia, from chrestos (useful) + manthanein (to learn). These two parts of the word ultimately derive from Indo-European gher- (to like or want) which gave us yearn, charisma, greedy, exhort; and mendh- (to learn) that resulted in the terms mathematics and polymath. Earliest documented use: 1832.
CHRESTOMATH - numerology applied to literature
CHRESTOPATHY - your father's selection of one author's works
CHRISTOMATHY - a concordance of the New Testament
MEANING: noun: One who destroys or mutilates books.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek biblio- (book) + -clast (breaker). Earliest documented use: 1880.
BIBLICOCLAST - mutilator of Bibles
BIBLIOCLASH - when my book says your book is wrong
BI-CLIO-CLAST - one who breaks statues of the Muse of History, who swings both ways
PRONUNCIATION: (FOI-i-ton) [the final syllable is nasal]
1. The part of a European newspaper devoted to light literature, criticism, and the like; also something printed in this section.
2. A novel published in installments.
3. A short literary piece
ETYMOLOGY: From French, from feuillet (sheet of paper), diminutive of feuille (leaf), from Old French foille, from Latin folium (leaf). Ultimately from the Indo-European root bhel- (to thrive or bloom), which also gave us flower, bleed, bless, foliage, blossom, and blade. Earliest documented use: 1845.
FEUILLE-TONE - part of a palette of red/orange/brown autumn-leaf colors
FEW ILL ETON - only a couple of cases at the school
FE QUILL ETON - the school is known for requiring an iron pen for writing
FEU ISLET ON - power has been restored to Fire Island
FEU I'D LET ON - fire has permission to come aboard
MEANING: noun: One who loves to read books; a bookworm.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek biblio- (book) + -phage (one who eats).
BIBLIOPHASE - a stage of cell division when the cell consults its book to decide how to replicate its chromosomes
BIBLIOPLAGE - a beach in Nice which requires reading a book for admission
BI-GLIO-PHAGE - a brain cell important to the process of pruning and remodeling synapses
PRONUNCIATION: (MOH-lahk, MAH-luhk)
MEANING: noun: Someone or something to which extreme sacrifices are made.
ETYMOLOGY: After Moloch, a Canaanite god of the Bible, associated with the practice of child sacrifice. From Latin Moloch, from Greek Molokh, from Hebrew Molekh, from melekh (king). Earliest documented use: 1615. Moloch has turned into a verb as well: molochize.
G.M.O. LOCH - a secluded lake in Scotland where research on genetically-modified marine plants is conducted
MORLOCH - the bad guys in H.G.Wells' The Dundee Time Machine
MO BLOCH - little-known brother of Henry and Richard, the accountants
MEANING: noun: A stone-like mass formed in the stomach or intestines of some animals, formerly believed to be a remedy for poison.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old French bezahar/bezoard, from Arabic bazahr, from Persian padzahr (antidote), from pad- (protector) + zahr (poison). Earliest documented use: 1597.
BE SOAR - how you'll feel the day after your first workout in months
BEFOAR - in front of, ahead of
BED OAR - what you row your cot down the stream with
PRONUNCIATION: (kav-uhl-KAYD, KAV-uhl-kayd)
1. A procession of riders on horses, vehicles, etc.
2. A noteworthy series of events.
ETYMOLOGY: From French cavalcade (stampede, cavalcade), from Italian cavalcata (ride, cavalcade), from cavalcare (to ride on horseback), from Latin caballus (horse). Earliest documented use: 1591.
CAVALCARE - veterinary insurance for horses
NAVALCADE - the Seventh Fleet traverses the Panama Canal
CABALCADE - a procession of conspiratorial numerologists
SABER-RATTLING or SABRE-RATTLING
MEANING: noun: Threatening words or action, for example, in the form of a flamboyant display of military power.
ETYMOLOGY: From saber/sabre (a heavy cavalry sword with a curved blade), from French sabre, from German dialect Sabel (now Säbel), from Hungarian szablya + rattle (to make a quick succession of sharp noises), probably ultimately of imitative origin. Earliest documented use: 1922.
SABER-TATTLING - Your sword...it's unbated and envenomed! I'm gonna tell on you!
SABRE-GATTLING - six whirling blades to cut down your opponents en masse
SAVER RATTLING - how falling interest rates affect consumers with just a little left over at the end of the month
S.A. BERRA TILING - Yogi's Mexican relatives' mosaic-making company
1. A light horse-drawn carriage with a folding top.
2. The folding top of a carriage.
3. A folding bonnet formerly worn by women.
ETYMOLOGY: From French calèche, from German Kalesche, from Czech kolésa (carriage, wheels). Earliest documented use: 1666.
ALASH - mumbled by a tipsy Shakespearean actor, addressing the skull of poor Yorick
CA-WASH - where a Bostonian takes his vehicle to remove the dirt and road salt from last winter
CAL'BASH - she to whom you say "Goodnight" at the end of the show, no matter where she is
CALAS - late, lamented soprano star
MEANING: verb tr., intr.: To interlock like the fingers of two hands.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin inter- (between, together) + digitus (finger, toe). Ultimately from the Indo-European root deik- (to show, to pronounce solemnly), which also gave us judge, verdict, vendetta, revenge, indicate, dictate, paradigm, diktat, dictatress, dittohead, fatidic, hoosegow, and interdict. Earliest documented use: 1847.
NOTES: To interdigitate is to hold hands together. Also, to hold toes of two feet together. Also, hand and foot. Also, hand and paw. Or foot and paw. Think of other combinations. Show us what you come up with. Write to us at email@example.com.
WINTERDIGITATE - freeze one's fingers; needs mittens
INTER, DIG, IRATE - angry gravedigger describes his day tersely
ENTER DIGIT AT "E" - write in a numeral on the fifth line
PRONUNCIATION: (TICH-luhr, TIT-uh-luhr)
1. Of or relating to a title.
2. In the name only: having a title without accompanying responsibilities and powers.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin titulus (title). Earliest documented use: 1540.
TITH LAR - a Klingon Rite of Passage
TIBULAR - involving both bones of the lower leg
TITULAX - brand name of a remedy for heartburn and constipation; contains calcium carbonate and phenolphthalien
TITULAE - teeny weeny titles
MEANING: noun: A small loft just below the roof.
ETYMOLOGY: From cock (rooster), from Old English cocc, of imitative origin + Old English loft (sky). Apparently roosters love to roost up high and this is the highest place, indoors, in the house. Earliest documented use: 1580.
BOCKLOFT - the high you get from some beers
CORKLOFT - storage for bottle stoppers; a good use for that "wasted space" just below the roof peak in an old winery
COCKLIFT - rooster thumbs a ride
CUNTLINE (or CONTLINE or CANTLINE)
1. The spiraling groove between two strands of a rope.
2. The space between bilges (the widest part) of two casks stowed side by side.
ETYMOLOGY: From cant (slope), from French from Latin cantus (corner), from canthus (rim). Earliest documented use: 1848.
AUNTLINE - inheritance via your mother's sister
COUNTLINE - sheep passing under the Shepherd's staff
CULT LINE - "Join us! Salvation awaits!"
MEANING: noun: A mineral, otherwise known as magnesium iron silicate hydroxide.
ETYMOLOGY: Named after Cummington, Massachusetts, where it was discovered. Earliest documented use: 1824.
NOTES: Cummingtonite is named after Cummington, MA, and the town of Cummington itself is named after Colonel John Cumings who got things started in the township. If cummingtonite is not enough for you, there’s also fukalite, named after Fuka mines in the Fuka region of Japan. Then there is carnalite, named after mining engineer Rudolf von Carnall.
Not much is known about cummingtonite’s applications. An unscientific survey shows it’s commonly used in the making of T-shirts [as a leering nerdy pun - Wofa].
CUMMIN TONITE - smells like curry for dinner!
CHUMMING TONITE - that'll be good bait for fishing tomorrow
CUMM INTO NITE - newly-discovered Eugene O'Neill play
CUMMING TO NICE - Riviera, next stop!
MEANING:\. verb intr.: To waste time without accomplishing much.
noun: Fuss; activity perceived as a waste of time.
ETYMOLOGY: Of imitative origin, to describe something flapping in the wind. Earliest documented use: 1874.
FAPF - all you can utter when you're stupefied beyond speaking [homage to Major Hoople]
FA𝒇𝒇 - the fourth note of the scale, played very loudly
F.A.C.F. - Fellow of the American College of Fellows
MEANING: verb intr.: To make a scraping or grating sound.
noun: A scraping sound, especially the rustle of a silk fabric.
ETYMOLOGY: Of imitative origin. Earliest documented use: 1787.
SCHROOP - to drink the last of the soup directly from the edge of the bowl
'S CROUP - I know the kid's sick, but why's his cough sound so funny?
SCROOD - past tense of...oh, never mind
PRONUNCIATION: (fan-far-uh-NAYD, -NAHD)
1. Bragging or blustering behavior.
ETYMOLOGY: From French fanfaronnade, from Spanish fanfarronada (bluster), from fanfarron (braggart), ultimately of imitative origin. Earliest documented use: 1652.
FANFARONASE - an intracellular enzyme involved in the metabolism of fanfarones
FANTA-RON ADE - a soft drink that you can get in McDonald's
FANFARE ON A D - short ceremonial flourish played on brass instruments to introduce the fourth letter of the English alphabet
MEANING: noun: A joke or prank.
verb intr.: To joke or play a trick.
verb tr.: To mock or trick.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old French japer (to yap; Modern French japper), of imitative origin. Earliest documented use: 1362.
JA, PEU - Overheard in a café in Strasbourg, after "Would you like a some more coffee?"
J.A. PEI - the architect's younger brother
JA, pp- response to "Even softer, Herr Beethoven?
PRONUNCIATION: (HWIK-uhr, WIK-)
MEANING: verb intr.:
1. To neigh.
2. To laugh in a half-suppressed manner.
ETYMOLOGY: Of imitative origin. Earliest documented use: 1656.
WHISKER - someone who moves things quickly from one place to another
WHICHER - a stickler for grammar, who [wrongly] searches and removes all "that"s from his writing and replaces them with "which"es
WICKER - the person who puts the cotton string in the middle of candles
MEANING: adverb: Somewhat; to some degree.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English sum (some) + dael (deal). Earliest documented use: 725.
COMEDEAL - 1. the casino is hiring; 2. pertaining to humor
SAME DEAL - nothing has changed
DOMEDEAL - buying an NFL football stadium
SAMEDEAL - pertaining to Saturday in Paris
MEANING: adverb: Toward the rear or stern.
ETYMOLOGY: From Middle English a- (toward) + baft (in the rear). Earliest documented use: 1400.
ADAFT - a bit off yer rocker
A-BART - the first car undercoating (the last being Z-bart)
JABAFT - a shot in the rear
A.B., OFT - what follows four years of college, frequently
MEANING: adverb: Nevertheless; notwithstanding.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English na (no) + the (this, that) + laes (less). Earliest documented use: 11th c.
LATHELESS - why the carpenter can't make spindles for his staircase railings
MATH E-LESS - before the concept of natural logarithms was developed
NAT_HELEN_S - the username adopted by Nathan and Helen Szczymonowsky
MEANING: adverb: From end to end; lengthwise.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English andlang (lengthwise). Earliest documented use: 1225.
BENDLONG - fold along the long axis
'EADLONG - head over heels
ENDLOG - the linchpin of a stockade fence
MEANING: adverb: To some place; somewhere.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English sum (some) + whither (where). Earliest documented use: 1398.
SAMEWHITHER: - fellow-travellers, having the same destination
SOMEWITHER: - how apples become wrinkled
SOMEWHITER: - the difference between laundry loads after you put in bleach
MEANING: noun: One who destroys good things.
ETYMOLOGY: From canker (to decay, infect, or corrupt), from Old English cancer (crab, tumor) + blossom (the mass of flowers on a plant). Earliest documented use: 1600, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
CAN KERB LOSS ...OM - a Brit meditating on limiting financial woes
TANKER-BLOSSOM - barnacles on the oil transport sip
CANKER-FLOSSOM - dentist's advice on how to prevent aphthous stomatitis (mouth sores)
MEANING: noun: A remedy to any problem.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin cura (care or concern) + eall/all (all). Earliest documented use: 1793.
C.U.? REALLY? - expression of disbelief and dismay over the scandal at Consumers' Union
CURSE-ALL - a symptom of Tourette's Syndrome
C.U. REAL - the Centrales Unidas soccer club
MEANING: noun: A fool; one lacking good sense.
ETYMOLOGY: From want + wit, from Old Norse vanta (be lacking) + Old English wit (mind). Earliest documented use: 1449.
WASN'T WIT - distinctly not funny
TAN TWIT - tease about getting so much sun
WANT WRIT - No, you need a court order for that
MEANING: noun: One who acts as if they know everything, dismissing others’ ideas or advice.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English cnawan (to recognize, identify) + hit (it) + eall/all (all). Earliest documented use: 1873
KNOWITAL - a barbiturate that makes you omniscient
KIOWI TALL - slogan of a proud tribe of Native Americans from the central plains
KOWITALL - pertaining to phonetic copulation
MEANING: noun: One who reconciles persons at odds with each other; a peacemaker.
ETYMOLOGY: From make + peace. From Old English macian (to make) + Old French pais, from Latin pax (peace). Earliest documented use: 1513.
MAKEPLACE - provide room for another person
MAKEPEACH - grow Elbertas, Clings, and Freestones
SAKEPEACE - the tranquility that follows drinking rice wine
MEANING: adjective: Relating to the essential nature of something or someone.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin quid (what), which also gave us quidnunc, quid pro quo, and quiddity. Earliest documented use: 1600.
"QUIDDIT!" ACTIVE - an unmistakable order to stop
SQUIDDITATIVE - behaving like a tentacled marine cephalopod
QUADDITATIVE - transforming into a four-part entity
1. Having an abnormally small head.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek micro- (small) + -cephalic (having a head), from kephale (head). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ghebh-el- (head), which also gave us the word gable. Earliest documented use: 1857. The opposite of today’s word is macrocephalic.
MICRONEPHALIC - with only the tiniest bit of turbidity
OMICROCEPHALIC - having a round head with a hole in the middle, like the Greek letter O
MICRO-CEPHELIC - a dwarf variable star, whose brightness pulsates with a well-defined stable period
MEANING: noun: Rule by the wealthy.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek chryso- (gold) + -cracy (rule). Earliest documented use: 1828. A synonym is plutocracy.
CHRYSOCRACK - special kind of yellow cocaine
CHRYSOC TRACY - his real name; small wonder the detective preferred to be called "Dick" by his friends
CHRYSLOCRACY - when Ford and GM couldn't pull it off, yet another car manufacturer tried to make the rules
MEANING: adjective: Inducing tears.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin lacrima (tear) + -genic (producing). Earliest documented use: 1907. Two related words are lachrymose and lachrymal.
LACHRYMOPENIC - dry-eyed (not enough tears)
LOCH RYMOGENIC - a lake in the northernmost reaches of Scotland, little known and hardly ever visited
LACH RHYMOGENIC - a psychological disorder wherein the victim shows paroxysms of laughter leading to a compulsion to speak in rhymes
MEANING: noun: Excessive talking.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin pleni- (full) + -loquence (speaking). Earliest documented use: 1838. The opposite is breviloquence.
PLENILOQUENCH - Shut up!
SPLENILOQUENCE - a lengthy screed, full if vitriol and anger
POENILOQUENCE - vividly describing wracking pain
PENCILOQUENCE - graphite-based writing
MEANING: noun: Noisy excitement, showy display, or extravagant actions, especially when executed in an effort to distract or confuse.
ETYMOLOGY: A reduplication of dazzle, frequentative of daze, from Old Norse dasa (weary). Earliest documented use: 1885.
RAZZLEDAZOLE - a new anti-seizure medicine
FRAZZLE-DAZZLE - when people are stunned by your really, REALLY, REALLY bad-hair day
RAZZ LE DAZZLE - tease the ultra-bright Paris lighting
MEANING: verb intr.: To associate socially, especially with people of higher status.
ETYMOLOGY: From the earlier phrase hobnob or hob-or-nob, used by two people to toast or drink to each other. It’s apparently from habnab meaning “give or take” or “hit or miss” from hab nab meaning “to have or have not”. Earliest documented use: 1761.
MOBNOB - to mingle with the Capo and his associates
HOB-SNOB - Bilbo Baggins after his new-found stature went to his head
HORNOB - a brass musical instrument with a double reed
ARTSY-FARTSY (also ARTY-FARTY)
PRONUNCIATION: (art-see FART-see)
MEANING: adjective: Pretentiously artistic or sophisticated.
ETYMOLOGY: From reduplication of art, from Latin ars (art), as fart + pejorative diminutive suffix -sy. The word fart is from Old English feortan, ultimately from the Indo-European root perd- (to fart), which also gave us partridge and futz. Earliest documented use: 1962.
NOTES: In Japan, there’s a 33-foot long scroll depicting various scenes of fart competitions. In Japanese, it's called he-gassen (fart fight). Really! It's an enlarged and revised edition (the original was done by an unidentified painter in 1680) made by Fukuyama Soran in 1846.
ARTSO-FARTSY - another name for depictions of Japanese he-gassen (see notes, above)
ANTSY-FARTSY - restlessly flatulent
ARTY-PARTY - soirée in Greenwich Village NY
MEANING: noun: 1. Nonsense.
verb tr.: 1. To deceive.
2. To swindle.
ETYMOLOGY: A reduplication, probably of the Old Norse flim (mockery). Earliest documented use: 1538.
F LIME LAM - loud green citrus fruit runs away
FLIMFLAME - the results when a flying flim gets too close to the candle (see also FLIMFLAMP)
FLIMFLAMB - offspring of a flimf ewe
PRONUNCIATION: (LAHR-dee DAHR-dee)
MEANING: adjective: Pretentious; affected; dandyish.
ETYMOLOGY: A reduplication of la-di-da which is imitative of affected pronunciation. Earliest documented use: 1861.
LARDY-TARDY - the cook was late putting in the fat
LARRY-DARRY - affectionate nickname for a Stooge
LANDY-DANDY - scornful nickname for Mr Calrissian
PRONUNCIATION: (hors muh-REEN)
1. Something imaginary.
2. Someone out of their element; a misfit.
3. A marine part of a cavalry or a cavalryman doing marine duty.
ETYMOLOGY: From horse, from Old English hors + marine, from Latin mare (sea). Earliest documented use: 1823.
NOTES: It sounds ridiculous that a soldier mounted on a horse would be of much use on water and that’s the idea behind the term horse marine. As unbelievable as it sounds, there have been horse marines in practice; there have been some famous horses in the US Marine Corps. Meet Staff Sergeant Reckless
HORSE FARINE - equine brought up eating only flour (thus poorly nourished and weak)
HORDE MARINE - an army (navy?) of Mermen
HORS DE MARINE - (French) blown out of the water
PRONUNCIATION: (shev-uh-LEER, shu-VAL-yay, -VAHL-)
MEANING: noun: A chivalrous man, one having qualities of courtesy, honor, bravery, gallantry, etc.
ETYMOLOGY: From Anglo-Norman chevaler, from Old French chevalier, from Latin caballarius (horseman), from caballus (horse). Earliest documented use: 1377.
CHEVALITER - 1000 cc of good Scotch
CHEVALIAR - Frenchman who mis-represents his horse's qualities to get you to buy it; precursor of a used-car dealer
CHE-VALUER - one who assigns great importance to Ernesto Guevera for his role in Cuban history
MEANING: verb tr.:
1. To dislodge from a horse.
2. To unseat from a position of power.
ETYMOLOGY: From un- (not) + horse, from Old English hors. Earliest documented use: 1390.
U.N. HOUSE - 405 E. 42nd Street, NY 10017, NY
SUNHORSE - logo of the oil conglomerate after Sunoco merged with Mobil
UNH OR SUE ! - claiming unlawful refusal to grant admission to the University of New Hampshire
PRONUNCIATION: (HIP-uh-kreen, -kree-nee)
MEANING: noun: Poetic or literary inspiration.
In Greek mythology, Hippocrene was a spring on Mt. Helicon and was created by a stroke of Pegasus’s hoof. From Greek hippos (horse) + krene (fountain, spring). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ekwo- (horse), which also gave us equestrian, equitant, hippodrome, and hippology. Earliest documented use: 1598.
ZIPPOCRENE - a spouting of cigarette lighters
HIPPOCREME - the latest fat-dissolving scam
HIPPOCRATENE - facilitates the transition from medical student to physician
PRONUNCIATION: (HORS sens)
MEANING: noun: Common sense.
ETYMOLOGY: From horse, from Old English hors + sense, from Latin sensus (faculty of feeling). Earliest documented use: 1832.
NOTES: Why horses in this idiom, as opposed to, say, foxes? Perhaps it’s the association of horses with the country and the sound practical judgment shown by an unsophisticated country person. Or maybe it’s an allusion to a horse’s sense in staying out of trouble. Also, in Jonathan Swift’s 1726 satire Gulliver’s Travels, Houyhnhnms is a race of horses endowed with reason, contrasted with Yahoos (boorish humans). Compare the term horsefeathers (nonsense).
HOUSE SENSE - sanity among the Representatives
HOSE SENSE - good taste in stockings
HORSE SEANSE - it's the spirits of Topper and Trigger and Silver and Scout returned...
PRONUNCIATION: (oh-LIM-pee-uhn, uh-)
MEANING: adjective: 1. Lofty; surpassing others.
2. Like an Olympian god: majestic or aloof.
3. Of or relating to the Olympic Games.
4. Of or relating to Mount Olympus or gods and goddesses believed to be living there.
noun: 1. A person of great achievement or position.
2. A contestant in the Olympic Games.
3. A native or inhabitant of Olympia, Greece.
4. One of the ancient Greek gods.
ETYMOLOGY: Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece, was believed to be an abode of the gods in Greek mythology. Also, Olympia, a plain in ancient Greece, was the site of the ancient Olympic Games. Earliest documented use: 1487.
POLYMPIAN - like many Military Police
ÖOLYMPIAN - the Egg Games of the Gods
0LYMPHIAN - an occasional complication of radical mastectomy
SO-LYMPIAN - champion of flaccidity
BALKANIZE (British BALKANISE)
MEANING: verb tr.: To divide a region, group, etc., into small, often hostile, entities.
ETYMOLOGY: From allusion to the breakup of the the Balkan Peninsula following the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Peninsula is named after Balkan Mountains, which are named after a Turkish word for mountains: balkan. Earliest documented use: 1917.
WALKANIZE - a portmanteau word: to organize a walk to raise money for a charitable cause
BALKANIRE - the cause of this persistent hostility
BALKANITE - an iron ore found in the mountains of south-eastern Europe
MEANING: noun: A high court.
ETYMOLOGY: Via Latin, from Greek Areios pagos (hill of Ares, the Greek god of war), from Areios (of Ares) + pagos (hill), from pegnunai (to fasten or stiffen). In ancient Greece, Areios pagos was the site where the highest governmental council met. Later it turned into a judicial body. Earliest documented use: 1642.
ARENOPAGUS - Don't call me while I'm at the big game!
ARE NO PA, GUS - you don't make a very good Dad, Herr Mahler
AREOPA GNUS - wildebeasts from Areopa
MEANING: noun: The highest point of something: achievement, ambition, challenge, etc.
ETYMOLOGY: After Mount Everest, the highest mountain (8,848 m) on the Earth (above sea level) in the Himalayas. The mountain is named after George Everest (1790-1866), Surveyor-General of India. Earliest documented use: 1909.
NEVEREST - the ultimate in procrastination
EVEREAST - where the sun rises (for the next six billion years, anyway)
EVE PEST - mosquitos
MEANING: noun: A huge or difficult task.
ETYMOLOGY: After Mount Pelion, a mountain in Greece. Earliest documented use: 1560.
NOTES: In Greek mythology, the twins Otus and Ephialtes piled Mount Pelion on Mount Ossa and both on Mount Olympus in an attempt to reach heaven and attack the gods. The word is mainly used in the idiom “to pile Pelion upon Ossa” meaning to make a challenging task even more difficult by piling something on top of it.
pHELION - the acidity of a solar orbit
PET LION - not allowed in most municipalities (or zoos)
PELICON - seabird with a big distensible pouch in its mouth
PRONUNCIATION: (may WEST)
MEANING: noun: An inflatable life jacket.
ETYMOLOGY: After actress, singer, and playwright Mae West (1893-1980), from the apparent resemblance of an inflated vest to her large bust. Earliest documented use: 1940.
MALE WEST - the right-hand opponent of the player sitting North is a man
MA NEWEST - my most recent, in Savannah, Georgia
MAX WEST - the biggest member of the West family
MEANING: adjective: Strikingly handsome.
ETYMOLOGY: After Adonis, a very handsome youth in Greek mythology. There’s a verb coined after him, as well: adonize. Earliest documented use: 1579.
ADDONIC - given to putting on more bells and whist
ADORIC - what Lucy did to her husband
ADONICE - hold the PR messages, we're scrubbing the advertising campaign
RADONIC - a basement with too much nasty gas
MEANING: noun: One who willfully damages another’s property.
ETYMOLOGY: After Vandals, a Germanic tribe who overran Gaul, Spain, and northern Africa, and in 455 CE sacked Rome. Earliest documented use: 1555.
EVANDAL - Dirksen and Gore
VANADAL - like Element #23
VANDAM - Belgian martial artist and action film star
FAN/DAL - New Delhi resident who enjoys breakfast
MEANING: verb intr.: To behave like a tyrant.
ETYMOLOGY: Nimrod was a great-grandson of Noah’s, according to the Bible. He was a hunter and an evil tyrannical king. Earliest documented use: 1614.
NIMROD ICE - what the famed hunter puts in his Scotch
NAM, RODIZE - Private Rodize is having a flashback
NO, I'M RODIZE - Sergeant, you're talking to the wrong guy!
MEANING: noun: An oily, hypocritical person.
ETYMOLOGY: After Rev. Mr. Chadband, a greedy preacher in Charles Dickens’s 1853 novel Bleak House. Earliest documented use: 1853.
CHAN BAND - Sidney Toller's film family
CHARD BAND - the elastic strip that holds the vegetables together in a bunch
CHAD BRAND - that's how we know where in central Africa these products originate
MEANING: noun: One who advocates fundamental or far-reaching change or reform.
adjective: Extraordinary; wonderful; fashionable; hip; cool.
ETYMOLOGY: From shortening of radical, from Latin radix (root). Ultimately from the Indo-European root wrad- (branch, root), which also gave us radish, root, rutabaga, eradicate, and ramify. Earliest documented use: 1820 for noun, 1976 for adjective.
RAP - a Native American tribe historically living on the plains of Colorado and Wyoming, clipped at both ends
RAID - a length of woven hair, clipped at its proximal end and free from insects
RAT - a casserole food, made from cooked eggplant and tomatoes, squash and pepper, onions and garlic, and more, not clipped at all but rather sliced or chopped
MEANING: noun: Face; facial expression.
ETYMOLOGY: A shortening/respelling of physiognomy (face, expression), via French and Latin from Greek physiognomonia. Ultimately from the Indo-European root gno- (to know), which also gave us know, can, notorious, notice, connoisseur, recognize, diagnosis, ignore, annotate, noble, narrate, anagnorisis (the moment of recognition), gnomon (the raised arm of a sundial), gnomic (puzzling), and agnostic. Earliest documented use: 1687.
PHIL - familiar name referring to a symphony orchestra
PHEZ - a pet game hen
pH OZ - the acidity of the water in the Emerald City
1. A commoner, one belonging to the working class.
2. An uncultured or unsophisticated person.
3. A person of low social status.
ETYMOLOGY: Short for plebeian, from Latin plebeius (of the common people), from plebs (common people). Earliest documented use: 1795.
NOTES: In 2012, the British MP Andrew Mitchell resigned when it was reported that he called a police officer this word. There’s more to the story and the incident has come to be known as Plebgate.
PELE B - almost as good a fútbol player as Edson Arantes Do Nascimento
PHLEB - nickname of my friend the lab-test blood-drawer
PRE-B - A
MEANING: noun: Dividend; share.
verb tr.: To divide and share.
noun: A foolish person.
ETYMOLOGY: For the first noun, verb: A shortening of dividend, from Latin dividere (to divide), from dis- (apart) + -videre (to separate). Earliest documented use: 1872.
For the second noun, adjective: Of uncertain origin. Earliest documented use: 1975.
DIVEY - what follows "Mairzy Doats and Dozey Doats and Liddle Lamsey"
DIV NY - the New York division
DRIVVY - my feeble attempt at hitting a golfball off a tee
PRONUNCIATION: (FEE-nom, fi-NOM)
MEANING: noun: A person of outstanding ability or promise.
ETYMOLOGY: Shortening of phenomenon, from Latin phaenomenon, from Greek phainomenon (appearance), from phainesthai (to appear), from phainein (to show). Earliest documented use: 1881.
PHEROM - subtle chemical produced by many lifeforms to induce a behavioral change in others of their species
PHONOM - what ET was trying to do
PHENNOM - snake poison
PRENOM - when a political candidate starts thinking of running for office
MEANING: adverb: Out of necessity.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old French par force (by force), from par (by) + force, from Latin per (by) and fortis (strong). Ultimately from the Indo-European root bhergh- (high), which also gave us iceberg, borough, burg, burglar, fortify, force, belfry, bourgeois, inselberg, and sforzando. Earliest documented use: 1330.
PET FORCE - an army of dogs and cats, plus the occasional bird and fish
APER FORCE - an army of mimics
PAR FORCE - golf holes, usually 300 to 450 yards long
PEE FORCE - what many men lose with age (or prostate enlargement)
MEANING: adverb: Totally; absolutely; definitely.
ETYMOLOGY: A shortening of totally, from total, from Latin totus (whole, entire). Earliest documented use: 2006.
[Don't forget also
Totes (v.t.) - carries and
Totes (n, pl) bags for carrying one or more small objects]
TORTES - feminine wrongdoings (legal)
TOTEO - an as-yet unreleased medium of mass entertainment that is
perceived by all the senses
TATE'S - brand name of a cheap, inconsistent, and misleading compass,
giving rise to the saying "He who has a Tate's is lost"
MEANING: adverb: In an awkward or ponderous manner.
ETYMOLOGY: From Old French encombrer (to hinder), from combre (dam). Earliest documented use: 1401.
UMBROUSLY - like a shadow
CRUMBROUSLY - so as to leave a trail for following
CUM BROSL, Y - if Brosl is included, I say Yes
1. With suspicion or disapproval.
2. With a side glance.
ETYMOLOGY: Origin unknown. Earliest documented use: 1530.
MASKANCE - the degree of obscuration or concealment
ASH-KANCE - what the Super puts burnt-out coal in, to be picked up at curbside Monday mornings
ASKANCEK - a fictional island off the cost of Siberia (from a satirical novel by Tolstoy)
ASK ANNE - early candidate for the name of Eppie Lederer's advice column.
See also ASK ONCE
MEANING: adverb: Naturally; of course.
ETYMOLOGY: Shortening and alteration of naturally, from natural, from Latin natura (nature), from nasci (to be born). Earliest documented use: 1945.
NATH - (slang) abbreviation for "anathema," natch
NATACH - companion of Boris in old Bullwinkle cartoons
ATCH - a dyslexic adrenocortical hormone
NOT-CH - Ḥ
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