Archive for July, 2010
Posted by kazvorpal on July 31, 2010
This word once meant “capable of laughter”, like “Man is a risible animal”, but it’s meaning has transferred from active to passive, the same error as using “done” to mean “finished”.
The reciprocal civility of authors is one of the most risible scenes in the farce of life.
— Samuel Johnson, The Life of Browne (1756)
The adventure of the fulling-mills in Don Quixote, is extremely risible, so is the scene where Sancho, in a dark night, tumbling into a pit, and attaching himself to the side by hand and foot, hangs there in terrible dismay till the morning, when he discovers himself to be within a foot of the bottom.
— Lord Henry Home Kames, Elements of Criticism (1761)
Orwell’s attempt to connect the leader of the Petrograd Soviet to the stalwarts of “Dad’s Army” is nearly, but not quite, risible.
— Christopher Hitchens, Why Orwell Matters (2002)
Risus is latin the past tense of ridere, to laugh, so this can be remembered as coming from the same word as “ridicule”, however different it now sounds.
Posted in humor, rhetoric | Tagged: christopher hitchens, don quixote, etymology, george orwell, high vocabulary, humor, latin, laughable, laughter, lexigenous, orwell, risible, samuel johnson, sancho, the life of browne, trotskyite, vocabulary, word of the day, wotd | Leave a Comment »
Posted by kazvorpal on July 29, 2010
A neologism for a portmanteau created by incorrectly combining a malapropism with a neologism.
It is itself a portmanteau of “malapropism” and “portmanteau”
Malamanteau is a cromulent word
— Randall Munroe, (∞)
Mala is Greek for “bad”, manteau is French for “cloak” (same origin as the word mantle)
Posted in humor, poetry | Tagged: high vocabulary, highvocab, humor, irony, large vocabulary, lexicon, lexigenous, lexivore, lexovore, logolepsy, malamanteau, malapropism, neologism, parody, portmanteau, randall munroe, satire, vocabulary, word of the day, wotd, xkcd | Leave a Comment »
Posted by kazvorpal on July 28, 2010
n. A severe fascination or obsession with words
Thanks to the magic of teleconferencing, often the format for a given show is call-in, and the phones and airwaves crackle with logolepsy.
— Richard Lederer, A Man of My Words (2003)
A case of logolepsy is easily distinguished from the perfectly sane mood which demands and imperiosly seizes the pregnant sign, and makes it the exponent of a hidden power.
— Maurice Thompson, My winter garden: a nature-lover under southern skies (1900)
Logos is Greek for “word”, -lepsy is Greek, “to seize”
Posted in Grammar / Syntax, Knowledge | Tagged: english, etymology, high vocabulary, information, Knowledge, language, lexicon, logolepsy, logolept, logoleptic, maurice thompson, richard lederer, verbiage, vocab, vocabulary, word of the day, words, wotd | Leave a Comment »
Posted by kazvorpal on July 26, 2010
Cleansing with water, literally or metaphorically
This word was often used when the purification achieved had a religious backing, as in Islam and Christianity, but when Christian purification spread to the 19th century Victorian obsession with cleanliness, this word went with it.
Bright star! would I were stedfast as thou art-
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores.
— John Keats, Bright Star (1819)
If his ankles be weak, let them every morning be bathed, after the completion of his morning’s ablution, for five minutes each time, with bay salt and water…
— Pye Henry Chavasse, “Advice to a mother on the management of her children” (1868)
In the center of the court is a large fountain, and a small stream surrounds the piazzas, where the Moors perform the ceremony of ablution.
— John Pinkerton, Voyages and Travels (1814)
From the Latin Ab (off) and luere (wash), related to another less-used English word for washing, “lave“
Posted in history, poetry | Tagged: ablution, bright star, christianity, clean, cleanliness, cooties, high vocabulary, islam, john keats, keats, lexicon, lexigenous, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ocd, poetry, purification, quotation, quotes, vocabulary, washing, word of the day, words of the day, wotd | 1 Comment »
Posted by kazvorpal on July 23, 2010
v. To flick one’s finger (or the act of doing so), by bracing it against and snapping it away from the thumb, often euphemism or simile for encouragement
This may be a dismissive gesture, be used to indicate a direction, or to discard probuscine effluvium
If I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle.
— Falstaff, Henry IV part 2, by William Shakespeare (1599)
Eat, drink, and love; the rest’s not worth a fillip.
— Lord Byron, Sardanapalus (1821)
Faithful horoscope-watching, practiced daily, provides just the sort of small but warm and infinitely reassuring fillip that gets matters off to a spirited start.
— Shana Alexander, “A delicious appeal to unreason” (2005)
Etymology: Appearing in the 15th century, it seems simply to remind one of the sound that the gesture would make
Posted in Knowledge, poetry | Tagged: byron, falstaff, fillip, flick, henry iv, high vocabulary, language, large vocabulary, lexicon, lord byron, sardanapalus, shana alexander, verbiage, vocabulary, vocabulary words, william shakespeare, word of the day, words, wotd | Leave a Comment »
Posted by kazvorpal on July 22, 2010
adj. Something that is disappearing, or that only happens for moments; ephemeral
Yes, it sounds like the name of that band…but many people don’t know what the actual word means.
Human life, with all its unreal ills and transitory hopes, is as a dream, which departs before the dawn, leaving no trace of its evanescent lines.
— Percy Shelley, Essay on Christianity (1859)
It was a dark world; it was full of preventable disorder, preventable diseases, and preventable pain of harshness and stupid unpremeditated cruelties; but yet, it may be even by virtue of the general darkness, there were moments of a rare and evanescent beauty that seems no longer possible in my experience.
— H. G. Wells, In the Days of the Comet (1906)
He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments.
— James Joyce, Stephen Hero (1944)
Our knowledge of physics only takes us back so far. Before this instant of cosmic time, all the laws of physics or chemistry are as evanescent as rings of smoke.
— Joseph Silk, The Infinite Cosmos (2006)
Etymology: Easier than it sounds: Latin, “ex” (out of) and vanescere, which also forms the word “vanish”
Posted in Knowledge, poetry | Tagged: big words, christianity, comet, evanescence, evanescent, h.g. wells, high vocabulary, james joyce, joseph silk, lexicon, percy shelley, shelley, stephen hero, the infinite cosmos, vocabulary, vocabulary expansion, word of the day, words, wotd | Leave a Comment »
Posted by kazvorpal on July 21, 2010
n. Corruption, as of a public official
Yes, we are aware that “corruption of a public official” may be redundant. See “criminal lawyer”.
He charged him with several grievous acts of malversation in office, with abuses of a public trust of a great and heinous nature.
— Edmund Burke, speech “On the Nabob of Arcot’s debts.” (1785)
They protest against the malversation of the whole of the moneys raised by additional taxes as a Famine Insurance fund to other purposes.
— Rudyard Kipling, The Enlightenments of Agett, M. P.
Destitute of the lawful means of supporting his rank, his dignity presents a motive for malversation, and his power furnishes the means.
— Jeremy Bentham, The Rationale of Reward
The odium lies in the malversation of the real, the faking of the event and the malversation of the war.
— Jean Baudrillard, The Gulf War did not take place
Etymology: Mal is, of course, Latin for “bad” (think malicious), and versari is Latin for “to behave” (think “versatile”)
Posted in history, rhetoric | Tagged: bentham, burke, bush, clinton, corruption, edmund burke, gulf war, jeremy bentham, kipling, Knowledge, lexicon, malversation, nixon, obama, pitt the elder, rhetoric, rudyard kipling, scandal, vocabulary, watergate, word of the day, words, wotd | Leave a Comment »
Posted by kazvorpal on July 16, 2010
n. Worship of the sun, whether real or metaphorical
Sun-worship was ancient in Peru, but it was the Incas who made it the great state religion, and their heliolatry was organized for political ends.
— Rushton M. Dorman, “The Origin of Primitive Superstitions”
I remember hearing stories in college about Ibiza, where big-breasted women laid out naked practicing heliolatry on the beaches, and E pills were as abundant as hard candy in an old folks’ home.
— Chris Baker
I am certain that if our preparations for greeting the returning sun were seen by other people, either civilised or savage, we would be thought disciples of heliolatry.
— Frederick Albert Cook, Through the first Antarctic night
Etymology: Helios was the Greek god of the sun (Apollo the god of light, not the sun, although his worship became so popular that it eventually adopted many of the stories that originated with Helios, including that of the sun being a chariot he drove)
Posted in history, poetry | Tagged: antarctica, apollo, aztecs, chris baker, cook, definitions, helios, high vocabulary, incas, Knowledge, lexicon, sol, sun, sun worship, sunbathing, sunlight, tanning, tanning beds, vocabulary, vocabulary expansion, word of the day, words of the day, wotd | 5 Comments »
Posted by kazvorpal on July 15, 2010
v. To throw out of a window, or by simile for throwing out, or a lack of windows
A term made famous by the Defenestrations of Prague, the start of a growing tradition of throwing bad politicians out of windows when ousting them from power.
Now, I don’t want to go on a rant here, but America’s foreign policy makes about as much sense as Beowulf having sex with Robert Fulton at the first Battle of Antietam. I mean, when a neo-conservative defenestrates, it’s like Raskolnikov filibuster deoxymonohydroxinate.
— Dennis Miller, our honorary solecistic sesquipedalian, on The Family Guy
Apple lost its opportunity to defenestrate Windows
— Nick Farrell (2007)
All of this gets defenestrated (right out the window) if we find we cannot trust the Bible regular, day-to-day, earthly information.
— Cliff Walker, March 31, 2008
Etymology: This is a back-construction from the word “fenestrated”, meaning “to have windows”, originating with the original, 17th century Defenestration of the Prague.
Posted in history | Tagged: apple, battle of antietam, big words, defenestrate, denniss miller, family guy, high vocabulary, history, literature, neo-conservatives, nick farrell, prague, robert fulton, sesquipedalian, the family guy, vocabulary, windows, word of the day, wotd | Leave a Comment »
Posted by kazvorpal on July 14, 2010
adj. Acceptable, or more than acceptable
Wednesday shall heretofore be our day for neologisms and other cromulent amusement…previously, this was done on the weekends
Edna Krabappel: “Embiggens”? I never heard that word before I came to Springfield.
Miss Hoover: I don’t know why. It’s a perfectly cromulent word.
— Lisa the Iconoclast
Don’t get flusterated. Everything I say is perfectly cromulent, and it might do you well to embiggen your vocabulary before you fling accretions my discretion.
— Qui the Promoter, Jade Empire
It’s a perfectly cromulent word
— Dan Conner
Etymology: Crom; Cimmerian solar deity, -ulent Latin (ulentus); “having the quality of”, writer David X. Cohen
Posted in humor | Tagged: conan, crom, cromulent, dan conner, david cohen, embiggen, high vocabulary, jade empire, lisa, qui the promoter, rosanne, simpsons, vocabulary | 1 Comment »
Posted by kazvorpal on July 12, 2010
n. What is hypophora? It is the rhetorical technique of asking a question, then immediately answering it.
This is not to be confused with a “rhetorical question”, which is asked for the sake of convincing the audience, but might not be answered at all. Note that, in fact, people mis-use “rhetorical question” to mean any time a did not need an answer, even when it was not for rhetorical purposes. “Ouch! Why did I do that?” is not a rhetorical question.
Aside from our clever demonstration of the word above, it’s difficult to find famous quotations actually including the word hypophora, but we found some examples of quotations demonstrating the technique:
ARTHUR: Well, I am king!
DENNIS: Oh king, eh, very nice. And how d’you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers!
What makes a king out of a slave? Courage!
What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage!
— Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz, 1939
Is He the God of the Jews only?
Is He not also of the Gentiles?
Yes, of the Gentiles also
— Romans 3.29
Etymology: Hypo is Greek for “without”, phoros; Greek for “to bear or have”, related to anthypophora; to give an opposing argument, and immediately refute it
Posted in rhetoric | Tagged: anarcho-syndicalism, bible quotes, cowardly lion, dennis, english, gentiles, holy grail, hypophora, jews, Knowledge, language, lexicon, lingo, monty python, monty python and the holy grail, new testament, oz, paul, paul of tarsis, peasants, pythons, rhetoric, rhetorical question, romans, sesquipedalia, sesquipedalia verba, sesquipedalian, sesquipedalianism, vocabulary, vocabulary words, wizard of oz, word of the day, words | Leave a Comment »