Posted by: Arkay | April 4, 2009

Words you may not know

Any of you who have ever directly encountered my personage (or received an electronically transmitted discourse originating from my locale) may have noted a certain loquaciousness to my speech (a sort of why use seven words when forty-nine will suffice). This is a natural occurance and in no way is a deliberate attempt to impress, or in superiority or some such. I have always had a somewhat larger ‘common use’ vocabulary that the average speaker of English, but certainly far beneath that of intellectuals, philosophers, bibliophiles and the like.

I think this may stem from my love of words, mostly in written form – I absolutely love reading. And I don’t think anything takes away from the delight of losing oneself in a great literary work as having to stop and look up the meaning of a word (indecipherable in its existing context). As such, I have always had an (undisclosed prior to this) affection for dictionaries. Uh, let me know when you’re done giggling to yourself, so I may continue…

Done? Good. No, really, I have always liked dictionaries, and find simple pleasures in flipping one open and looking for a word I don’t know, sometimes leading to a chain search in which the definition of one word contains another word I don’t know the meaning of that I now have to look up and so on. And nowhere does this work better than in a much older dictionary (the entity being a fluid construct that has changed much with the times). Vocabulary that is no longer (or never was) in common usage fascinates me. (Note: modern words or vocabulary additions do not intrigue me the same way). As such, one of my favourite dictionaries in my possession is around a hundred years old. And it has some great words in it, thus I give you (quite) a few from this morning…

{ Attention: you may find some personal commentary in parentheses like this, just ignore it }

OSCULATE – to salute with a kiss; to kiss; geom. to touch at a point, as two curves coming in contact. { woo-woo! }

HOITY-TOITY – An exclamation denoting surprise or disapprobation, with some degree of contempt: equivalent to pshaw!

DISAPPROBATION – The reverse of approbation { well duh! }; disapproval; censure, expressed or unexpressed.

{ What?!? You don’t wish to osculate me? Oh Pshaw! <— expressed disapprobation }

NEMORAL – pertaining to a wood or grove. NEMOROSE – growing in groves or among wood. NEMOROUS – Woody; pertaining to a wood.

SARSAPARILLA – The rhizome of several plants of tropical America and the East Indies, yielding a medicine valued on account of its mucilaginous and demulcent qualities. { ??? }

RHIZOME – a stem running along the surface of the ground, or partially subterranean, sending forth shoots at its upper end and decaying at the other, as in the ferns, iris, etc.

DEMULCENT – Softening; mollifying; lenient. n. Any medicine which lessens the effects of irritation, as gums and other mucilaginous substances. { there’s that word again… }

MUCILAGINOUS – Pertaining to or secreting mucilage; slimy; ropy; soft and slightly viscid. { uh, ew? }

VISCID – Sticking or adhering, and having a ropy or glutinous consistency; semi-fluid and sticky. { yup, ew. }

SILLABUB – a dish of wine or cider with cream or milk forming a soft curd. { the definition notes “Origin doubtful.” whereas I would state it as “Consumption doubtful.” } { also, ew. }

GEWGAW – A showy trifle; a pretty thing of little worth; a toy; a bauble. { modern definition: Paris Hilton? }

TELIC – denoting end or purpose. { in this case, denoting the end of this list }

And one day I may be bright enough to actually remember some of my ‘finds’ and incorporate them into my occasional poetic musings. Not likely. Hope you had fun though.



  1. okay – i knew seven of them. does that make me a geek?

  2. yeah…I knew some of those too. GEEKS R US! šŸ™‚

  3. word nerds! yay!

    I’m a verbivore too, but you knew that.

  4. PS: my blog is

  5. I’ve always liked smart girls. (you three definitely qualify!)

    and LOL! @ ‘verbivore’ Banana, I think that is much more applicable in all the above cases (instead of ‘geek’ for sure :P)

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