29 November 2011


The head of the monastery of the Eastern Church.

Very useful Scrabble word!

28 November 2011


Today is brumal. Is that the correct usage? I'm not entirely sure.

However, I do know that brumal means wintry or freezing and at the moment I am so cold my nose is numb so I thought 'twould be a good word to post :-)

Origin: 1505–15; < L brūmālis of, pertaining to winter. See brume, -al1


Google search for interesting words beginning with 'Z' revealed this delight.

It is an ornamental holder for a hot coffee cup. Match this with a cigarette holder, and one has a recipe for coolness.

It is from the Arabic word meaning envelope or container.

27 November 2011


To seal a gap with a substance;
To make a boat water-tight.

Sometimes I feel as if uni doesn't exactly caulk me, merely highlights places where caulking is needed. Then the caulk is applied, only that application highlights smaller holes. Then, everything explodes and the boat falls apart and the only things left are the substances used to caulk in the first place; and the occasional spattered fragment of what used to be a brain.

25 November 2011


Smörgåsbord (pronounced shmawr-guhs-bawrd) meaning an extensive array or variety, often used in reference to food in which case it means a buffet meal of various hot and cold foods.

1893, from Swed. smörgåsbord "open sandwich table," lit. "butter-goose table," from smörgås, which is said to mean "bread and butter," but is compounded from smör "butter" (related to smear) and gås, lit. "goose" (and from the root of English goose), which is said to have a secondary meaning of "a clump (of butter)." The final element is bord "table" (cf. (n.1)). Figurative sense of "medley, miscellany" is recorded from 1948.

22 November 2011


A small spherical body.  

Sometimes shortened to glob, this word came to me when a friend texted me and my response to her was glob as it was an anagram of the word she had sent me.

1660s, from Fr. globule, from L. globulus, dim. of globus “globe”

21 November 2011


From Jonathon Swift's Gulliver's Travels. The people of Brobdingnag were giants, hence the adjective is now used to describe anything of colossal size.

I haven't read the book in years; perhaps I should reread it.

15 November 2011


When I was a kid and would read the Babysitters' Club over and over again, this was in one of the books. The word took around 5 goes to get, but I've been able to spell and say it since. I just love the way the word sounds. Chris an' the mum - it's made for some really good cryptic crossword clues as well.

Chrysos: gold
anthos: flower

While looking up the etymology, the word anthos reminded me of anthology. On looking this up, it turns out that anthology means 'flower pressings'.


esoteric; of questionable authenticity

Oft used in religious circles to describe a book or piece of writing that is considered useful but not the word of god.

I just like the way it sounds :-)

From the Greek meaning hidden away

13 November 2011


A glorious word meaning extremely/excessively stupid or foolish.

When used in a sentence, "Adam's asinine actions", it sounds so much better than saying, "Adam's extremely stupid actions".

c.1600, "obstinate, stupid," from L. asininus "stupid," lit. "like an ass," from asinus "ass," also "dolt, blockhead" (see ass (1)). The literal sense in English is recorded from 1620s.


Rarely used in normal conversation which is not that strange when you look at the meaning. Esoteric means intended for or understood only by a select few. It can also mean private, secret, confidential.

I have heard it used in the past to describe a person. I would guess that when someone is described as esoteric it means that they are a very private or secretive person.

1650s, from Gk. esoterikos "belonging to an inner circle," from esotero "more within," comparative adv. of eso "within," related to eis "into," en "in" (see en- (2)). In English, originally of Pythagorean doctrines. According to Lucian, the division of teachings into exoteric and esoteric originated with Aristotle.

12 November 2011

Non Sequitur

You know the thing that has always fascinated me about words like this is when they, illogically, only have a two word function. I mean, have you ever heard someone talk about a sequitur? I haven't, I've only heard it used with the non in front.

A non sequitur is a statement that does not follow logically from or isn't clearly related to previous content.

This post was a non sequitur from the previous ones about phobias.


A very interesting phobia that I guess I always knew about, but never knew the proper term for.

It means a  fear of being touched.  We probably all know someone who doesn't like casual touches but I don't think I've ever met anyone who cannot stand any touch at all and is actively frightened of being touched.

From the greek Haphe - to touch


Generally used to mean scared of. Official meaning is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.

1786, "fear, horror, aversion," Mod.L., abstracted from compounds in -phobia, from Gk. -phobia (in widespread popular use with native words from c.1800), from phobos "fear," originally "flight" (still the only sense in Homer), but it became the common word for "fear" via the notion of "panic, fright" (cf. phobein "put to flight, frighten"), from PIE base *bhegw- "to run" (cf. Lith. begu "to flee," O.C.S. begu "flight," bezati "to flee, run," O.N. bekkr "a stream"). Psychological sense attested by 1895.

9 November 2011


A group of individuals or organizations combined to promote some common interest

syndic: One who helps in a court of justice (Greek and Late Latin)
-ate: Latin suffix meaning 'one who'

After having just syndicated this blog onto my own website, it only seems fitting. The Greek prefix 'syn-' means with or together, and I like how harmony is implied in this word.

It also rhymes with indicate, so there is much potential for interestingness.


a person who is self-indulgent in their fondness for sensuous luxury.

Oh 'twould be lovely to have the time to be a sybarite!

8 November 2011


Obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree
Also, bootlicking: arselicking etc

When I hear the word obsequious it conjures up an image of a very large/portly in the extreme, greasy/oil covered man who is trying to get something from someone by fawning all over them.  This man (to me) looks remarkably like the Baron from Dune! 

late 15c., "prompt to serve," from the Lain - obsequiosus "compliant, obedient," from obsequium "compliance, dutiful service," from obsequi "to accommodate oneself to the will of another," from ob "after"+ sequi "follow" (see sequel). Pejorative sense of "fawning, sycophantic" had emerged by 1590s.

7 November 2011


to cause irritation or annoyance

Oh my! Some people are so exasperating I don't know how they cope.  From adults to children everyone has the potential to be exasperating.  Do people have the kind of personality where they just find everyone exasperating even if they are not so?

4 November 2011


The simple meaning is wavy. More complicated definitions include a wavy surface or a sound that goes up and down in tone.

Undulate, to me, sounds very smoothed and curved so I would not describe an N as an undulating letter. I would however describe m as more like an undulating form.


bearing or transmitting poison and especially a natural venom.

Therefore, one could describe some snakes as being veneniferous. I would also go as far to describe some of the people I know as veneniferousthough their poison is generally verbal rather than chemical :-)


Tenacious is a glorious word meaning holding fast or firmly. It can be used in many ways such as a tenacious memory or referring to an object such as tenacious dirt that sticks and is difficult to remove.

c.1600, from L. tenaci-, from tenax "holding fast"


One of my favourite words in the English language, purely because I adore paradoxes.

"This statement is false."

"The following statement is false.
The preceding statement is true."

Over-quoted perhaps but at this time of night, that's all I can think of!

From the Ancient Greek paradoxos, meaning unexpected or strange, which in turn comes from:
para-: side-by-side
dox-: opinion / tenet


An age of time.

Yuga is a Sanskrit word used in Hinduism to mean any of the four ages, the Satya, the Treta, the Dvapara, and the Kali, each worse than the last, forming a cycle due to begin again when the Kali has come to an end.


An impractical idealist. 

This word can be used to refer to someone who acts in a way similar to Don Quixote in the books by Cervantes.

3 November 2011


Denoting pain from the arousal of peripheral nerve cells.

So basically when we hurt from temperature, pressure or chemicals. A completely different kind of pain to the one I'm experiencing right now, which is the usual 5 week uni rush where the work starts piling on, and you are reminded once again that you are merely mortal; not the omniscient being all other non-uni dwellers are.

Regardless, nociceptive is a very cool sounding word. Rhyming with deceptive.


Irrational fear of failure.

It rather sounds like a bird swooping down on top of you with an almighty kakaw, kakaw, and then you find that there's nothing left of you in the morning apart from some extraneous toenails which weren't so well digested.

That's what happens to you when you fail. Unequivocally, without fail, the kakaw bird will eat you. So don't fail.


I'm slightly too obsessed by this blog, and therefore am posting whenever I find anything even remotely interesting!

The definition of equivocate is using ambiguous or unclear expressions, usually to avoid commitment or in order to mislead. FABULOUS!

How awesome would it be to say to someone "You are equivocating!" and they just have no bloody clue what you are talking about!


Interestingly enough this word has more than just the well known meaning.  Be honest, when you hear the word Jesuit  you think of Jesus or a Roman Catholic.  Am I right or am I right?

Well... I found out this evening that the word Jesuit has a derogatory definition as well.  It can be used to define a  crafty, intriguing, or equivocating person.  I find this fascinating.  I'm not sure I would use it in a conversation as I think it could be understood to be derogatory about Catholicism to which my motto is "to each his own" and therefore I try not to denigrate it or anything I don't think I know enough about.

2 November 2011


out of keeping or place; inappropriate; unbecoming; not harmonious in character; inconsonant; lacking harmony of parts; inconsistent.

Wow, that's a lot of definitions for one eensy weensy word.  Ok, it's 4 syllables so not that small but whatever... I love the word incongruous because it sounds so incongruous when you say it!


an unreasonable fear of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange

Is it racist to be a xenophobe? I first came across the word xenophobe in a sci-fi book where people were xenphobic of the aliens. Great word with an interesting meaning...


A yarraman is an ancient Australian word for horse. I know, who knew Australia had ancient words :-) aboriginal words yes but ancient Australian?


Beyond or outside the field of experience.

Blogging is metempirical for me but I think I'm getting the hang of it :-)


This word is used by many people to describe someone who seems to be talking in a language they don't understand or just talking plain rubbish (as in not conjugating proper words). The word itself actually refers to language that is usually hard to understand such as jargon.


The mythological Greek struggle of the giants against the gods.

Akin to my current struggle against the giant which is Drupal. And obviously I am the gods. And blasphemous besides. And never start a sentence with 'and', apparently it's bad grammar.


prefix meaning 'giant' (see gigabyte etc)
suffix meaning 'fight'


To pontificate.  Even the word sounds pompous which is fitting when you know that the commonly used meaning of the word is to speak in a pompous or dogmatic manner.  The other meaning is to perform the office or duties of a pontiff which just isn't quite the same...


Loving this awesome word just for the sound it makes...  A pontiff is a high priest, bishop or the RC pope.


See recursion.


Excess of tears in the eyes.

Currently very fitting as I am sat in an air-conditioned room and, as a consequence, my eyes are incredibly dry.

dacryon / δάκρυον:
Sight or face

1 November 2011


Since we didn't have a 'B' word yet, I decided to try to find one.

Aesthetically unappealing, or ugly in design.

Rather remarkable that what I am currently procrastinating from is code with a bletcherous design. Or perhaps my eyes were drawn to the word because of the fact. Either way, I love how just saying the word makes me want to gag.


No blog on the love of words would be complete without etymology: the study of the origin of words and how their meaning has changed over time.

The etymology of etymology:
etumon - the Greek for 'true sense',
logia - the Greek for 'study'.

etumon itself derives from 'etumos' - meaning real or true.
logia is derived from the Ancient Greek word 'lego', meaning 'speak, pick, or tell'. Wikipedia notes that the word 'lecture' is thus defined.

Derivations and all derivatives of make me happy. In both Mathematical and Anglican forms.


The formation of a word from a sound associated with its meaning.

Not only is the word one of the most rhythmic and beautiful I can think of, but it also has a very cool derivation.

Onoma: From the Greek word for name,
-poeia: From the Greek for 'I make'.

So it literally means "Name I make". Which, if you think about it, really doesn't describe what it's meant to be doing at all. The same thing could be applied to someone who compiles baby name books.


Involuntary repetition or imitation of another's movements.

The big fan of etymology I am breaks the word down as such:
Echo: To be repeated or resounded.
-praxia: suffix meaning to achieve or to perform.

Hence the root of the word 'dyspraxia', to be bad or difficult at performing.