Friday, September 05, 2008

Words I love

I've been working on this list for a long time now, maybe 6 months.  I know I'm the only one who cares about it, but these are some fucking awesome words.  All the entries are glossed from the dictionary, maybe paraphrased but any errors are mine.  I know I already use too many big words, but you can kind of understand why when you see how many great words there are.

It makes kind of a weird list, because my brain likes words for weird reasons.  I should write a little story that has all of them in it.  There are a couple for each letter of the alphabet (even x and z!) and sometimes the list of synonyms is better than the actual word.  I also really like word origins, so pretend you're interested., n,: the act of renouncing or rejecting something : self-denial, abjuration, surrender, relinquishment, abstemiousness, continence, asceticism, temperance, austerity

a.lac.ri.ty, n.:  brisk and cheerful readiness, from Latin "brisk"  "My major attraction to the local peep-show is the good-natured alacrity exhibited by the performers."

back.hand.ed, adj.: gesture made with the back of the hand facing the direction of movement; figurative use as of something indirect, ambiguous or insincere; a backhanded compliment delivered as teasing., n.:  supreme blessedness; benediction, grace, bliss, rapture, saintliness;  also a proper noun indicating the blessings listed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, or a title given to patriarchs in the Orthodox Church

ca.tarrh, n.:  excessive discharge or buildup of mucus in the nose or throat, associated with inflammation of the mucous membranes;  from Greek "down-flow", adj.:  of, resembling, or relating to twilight, an animal appearing or active in twilight;  from Latin crepusculum, "twilight", n.:  the action of throwing someone or something out of a window;  early 17th cent., from modern Latin de="down from" fenestra="window"

du.ra ma.ter, n.:  the tough outermost membrane enveloping the brain and spinal cord, from medieval Latin "hard mother" or Arabic "coarse mother", adj.:  cheerful and full of energy, buoyant, merry, jaunty, elated, animated, sparkly, vivacious, perky, chirpy, bouncy, peppy;  from Latin "boiling up" or out, to boil, as a boiling pot or a boiling sea, n.:  the theory of knowlege, esp. with regard to its methods, validity, and scope.  Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.  from Greek, "know, know how to do"

fra.cas, n.:  a noisy disturbance or quarrel, from Italian fracassare, "make an uproar"; brawl, melee, rumpus, skirmish, struggle, scuffle, scrum, clash, fisticuffs, scrap, dust-up, set-to, donnybrook

fa.ce.tious, adj.: treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant, glib, sardonic, jocular, sportive

gib.bous, adj.:  having the observable illuminated part greater than a semicircle and less than a circle, as of the moon; convex or protuberant, as of an eye.  from latin gibbus, "hump"

gad.a.bout, n.: a habitual wandering pleasure-seeker

hie, v.: go quickly, with haste, from Middle English for "strive or pant"

hack.neyed, adj.: of a phrase or idea, lacking significance through having been overused; unoriginal and trite, vapid, stale, tired, banal, hoary, boilerplate, old hat, cheesy, played out

in.fin.i.tesi.mal, adv.:  an indefinitely small quantity; a value approaching zero.  minute, imperceptible, teeny, n.: a kind of gelatin obtained from fish, esp. sturgeon, and used in making jellies, glue, etc., and for clarifying ale; from obsolete Dutch "sturgeon's bladder"; or mica or a similar mineral in thin transparent sheets, often used as fireproof windows in lanterns and stoves

je.june, adj.: naive, simplistic and superficial; (of ideas or writings) dry and uninteresting;  from Latin "fasting, barren" denoting "not (intellectually) nourishing", n.: the wooden components of a building, such as stairs, door and door and window frames, viewed collectively

ken, n.: one's range of knowledge or sight; v.: to know, recognize, identify or be acquainted with

ki.bosh, n.: put an end to, dispose of decisively, halt, quash, block, cancel, scotch, thwart, prevent, supress, stymie, scuttle

lach.ry.mal, adj.: poetic/literary, connected with weeping or tears; Physiology/Anatomy (lacrimal) concerned with the secretion of tears;  n.: Anatomy, a small bone forming part of the eye socket, or n. archaic, a vial to hold the tears of mourners at a funeral

las.civ.i.ous, adj.: (of a person, manner or gesture) feeling or revealing an overt, confident sexual desire; lustful, wonton, salacious, lewd, smutty, naughty, licentious, concupiscent, ribald, blue, indecent, lubricious, purient, dirty

Ma.cas.sar, n.:  a kind of oil formerly used, esp. by men, to make one's hair shine and lie flat.  Also spelled Makassar, the oil was originally marketed as consisting of ingredients from Makassar; consider the "anti-macassar" doilies popular at same time to protect the backs of chairs and sofas from staining with this ubiquitous hair dressing

mus.te.lid, n.:  Zoology, a mammal of the weasel family (Mustelidae), distinguished by having a long body, short legs, and musky scent glands under the tail, from Latin "weasel", n.:  a water nymph said to inhabit a river, spring or waterfall; the aquatic larva or nymph of a dragonfly, mayfly or stonefly; a submerged aquatic plant with narrow leaves and minute flowers, from Greek naein, "to flow"

nar.whal, n.: a small Arctic whale, all males and some females of which have one or two long forward-pointing spirally twisted tusks developed from one or two teeth; from the Old Norse word for "corpse" referencing the mottled grey skin color. 

oar.lock, n.: a fitting on the gunwale of a boat that serves as a fulcrum for an oar and keeps it in place

ou.bli.ette, n.: a secret dungeon with access only through a trapdoor in its ceiling, from the French word for "forget," 'oublier.'  With the diminuitive 'ette', literally a "little forgetter"

pa.ho.e.ho.e, n.: Geology, basaltic lava forming smooth undulating or ropy masses; contrasted with 'aa,' basaltic lava forming very rough jagged masses with a light frothy texture; both from contemporary Hawaiian

per.e.gri.nate, v.: travel or wander around from place to place; globe-trot, voyage, journey, treck, adventure

quin.cunx, n.:  an arrangement of five objects with four at the corners of a square or rectangle and the fifth at its center, as on the five of a die or playing cards, or in planting trees; in Astrology, an aspect of 150 degrees, equivalent to five zodiacal signs; from the Latin words for "five twelfths", adj.:  occurring daily, ordinary, diurnal, average, standard, common,mainstream, unremarkable, workaday, daily, run-of-the-mill, mundane, nothing to write home about, conventional, a dime a dozen, middle of the road, unexeceptional; medical usage denoting the malignant form of malaria. 

ran.cour, n.:  bitterness or resentfulness, esp. when long-standing.  origin middle english : via Old French from the Latin words for "rank or bitter, stinking grudge."

ru.fous, adj.:reddish brown in color, used esp. in Ornithology i.e. 'rufous tit', adj.:producing good effects, beneficial, health-giving, advantageous, productive, worthwile, timely, profitable, cushy, wholesome, n.: in Astronomy, a conjunction or opposition, esp. of the moon and sun; a pair of connected or corresponding things; via Latin from the Greek words for "paired or yoked together"

ta.lus, n: in Anatomy, the large bone in the ankle that articulates with the tibia of the leg and the calcaneum and navicular bone of the foot, also called astragalus, from the Latin words for "ankle-heel"; or a sloping mass of rock fragments at the foot of a cliff or the slopingside of an earthwork or wall that tapers to the top, n.:  a beginner or novice, from the Latin word for, "recruit"; neophyte, initiate, fledgling, apprentice, greenhorn, tenderfoot, rookie, n.: a school of Japanese art depicting subjects from everyday life, dominiant in the 17-19th centuries, from Japanese words for "fleeting world-picture", n.: a fleshy extension at the back of the soft palate that hangs above the throat, or a similar hanging structure in any organ of the body, particularly at the opening of the bladder; from the Latin word for "grape", v.:  alternate or waver between different opinions or actions; be indecisive.  from the latin word for "swayed."  dither, hesitate, blow hot and cold, fluctuate, hem and haw, shilly-shally, flip-flop

vul.pine, adj.:  of or relating to a fox or foxes; crafty and cunning, from the Latin word for "fox" or "fox-like"

wale, n.:  a ridge on a textured woven fabric such as corduroy; a plank running along the side of a wooden ship, thicker than the usual planking, and strengthening and protecting the hull; or a horizontal band around a woven basket

whore.son, n.:  archaic, an unpleasant or greatly disliked person, construction suggested by Anglo-norman French "fiz a putain," literally "son of a whore"

xan.tho.phyll, n.: a yellow or brown carotenoid plant pigment that is revealed in autumn colors of leaves when the green of chlorophyll ceases to mask it; from the Greek words for "yellow" and "leaf"

xiph.oid process, n.:  the cartilaginous section at the lower end of the sternum, which is not attached to any ribs and gradually ossifies during adult life, from the Greek word for "sword"

yawp, n.: a harsh or hoarse cry or yelp; foolish or noisy talk; v.: to make such a cry or talk

yoke, n.:  a wooden crosspiece fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to a plow or cart they are to pull in tandem, a pair of animals coupled in such a way, or achaically, the amount of land a pair so yoked could plow in a day;  a similar frame fitting over the neck and shoulders of a person to carry pails; part of a garment that fits over the shoulders, to which the main fabric of the garment is attached (the yoke of a western shirt); a crossbar at the head of a rudder, a control lever in an aircraft, a bar of soft iron between the poles of an electromagnet; in ancient Rome an arch of three spears under which a defeated army was made to march., n.: a figure of speech in which a word applies to two others in different senses ("She checked the date on the milk, unaware that she would tragically expire before it did.") or to two others of which it semantically suits only one ("With weeping wounds and hearts they retreated.")

zo.e.trope, n.:  a 19th century optical toy consisting of a cylinder with a series of pictures on the inner surface that, when viewed from outside through slits with the cylinder rotating, give an impression of continuous motion, from the Greek words for "turning life"