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horripilation (ho-rip-uh-LAY-shuhn) noun

The bristling of the body hair, as from fear or cold; goose bumps.

[Late Latin horripilatio, horripilation-, from Latin horripilatus, past participle of horripilare, to bristle with hairs : horrere, to tremble + pilare, to grow hair (from pilus, hair).]

"The poor man frightened, terrified, alarmed, seized with a feeling of horripilation all over the body, and agitated in mind, reflects thus." Translated By H. Kern, Saddharma-Pundarika or The Lotus of the True Law, Sacred Books of the East, Vol XXI, 1884.

"What is expressed here is an aversion that is both aesthetic and intimate, a horripilation of the sexual reflex that is perfectly captured by the word creep." Lance Morrow & John Dickerson, Men are they really that bad? Time, Feb 14, 1994.

Once in a while AWAD delivery gets delayed and messages start pouring into my mailbox complaining of withdrawal symptoms. "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind," as British writer Joseph Rudyard Kipling said, and might help explain why some of us get so hooked on them. As time passes, we experience symptoms of mithridatism, the condition of immunity acquired by taking gradually increased doses of something. Slowly they take over and we realize we need words with even more potency, words that are unusual, esoteric, or even preposterous, to get an ever greater high. Are you one of those for whom the dictionary might be better characterized as addictionary? Help is at hand. Consider this week's words as extra high doses of the fix. -Anu


Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth. -Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

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