Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About | Media | Search | Contact  


Home

Today's Word

Subscribe

Archives



Feb 7, 2022
This week’s theme
There’s a word for it

This week’s words
cacoethes
refoulement
memetic
bimarian
graphomania

cacoethes
Photo: Komkrit Preechachanwate / 123rf

Previous week’s theme
Homonyms
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

I’m a minimalist, but I do make certain exceptions.

One can never have too much chocolate in their pantry, too big a battery in their cellphone, or too many words on their wordshelves.

Words don’t take much room. They don’t need feeding, vacuuming, washing, or tuning. No need to buy insurance or locks.

How many words does one really need in life? The more the merrier. You don’t have to use them all at the same time, but you never know which word might come handy when.

Here are five I have picked this week. Dusted them off (metaphorically speaking), as they have been unused for a while. Take a look. Do with them what you will. And add them to your own wordshelves.

These are words that might make you say: I didn’t know there was a word for it!

cacoethes

PRONUNCIATION:
(kak-oh/uh-WEE-theez)

MEANING:
noun: An irresistible urge to do something, especially something inadvisable.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek kakoethes (ill-disposed), from kakos (bad) + ethe (disposition). 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: 1603.

NOTES:
The Roman satirist Juvenal once wrote about insanabile scribendi cacoethes (incurable passion for writing), which inspired the sense of the word today.

USAGE:
“[Evan Knapp] evokes the youthful state of being ‘teenager know-it-all strong’, driven by cacoethes.”
Evan Knapp; Where There Is Movement; Kirkus Reviews (Austin, Texas); Feb 1, 2020.

“He had a cacoethes for coining neologisms.”
Anand Bose; Ghazals of A Pen; BookRix; 2020.

See more usage examples of cacoethes in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else. -Charles Dickens, novelist (7 Feb 1812-1870)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere

Donate

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2022 Wordsmith