November 2018: This glossary is being moved over from another web host. Under construction.

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

A (back to top)

accidic
acosmic
adminicle
Aesopical
aggiornamento
agnates
aigrette
agonistic
Aldershottian
alpenglow
altermondialist
altricial
ambarvalia
amigados
amortize
anakalypteria
analphabetism
andirons
anexelegktos
anfractuosity
animadversion
anosognosia
antimacassar
antipeponthos
apocatastasis
apostrophize
archaism
argot
astrakhan

accidic (back to top)

noun. A sociopath. From accidie (sloth, laziness, apathy, despair)

“The accidic is an ‘outsider’ who is completely detached from both the ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ sides of the value continuum.”
Criminologist S. Giora Shoham. Quoted in Kathleen Norris. Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life. New York: Riverhead Books, 2008. p. 119.

acosmic (back to top)

Transcending the world.

“The way of a sannyasi or a sannyasini (nun) in India is an acosmic path — that is, not of this world. It transcends the values, attachments, and obligations of worldly existence.”
Wayne Teasdale. A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life. Novato, Calif.: New World Library, 2002. p. xxii.

adminicle (back to top)

In Scots law: A document giving evidence as to the existence or contents of another, missing document.

“But happily for the investor, forgery is an affair of practice….the floor bare, the sofa heaped with books and accounts enveloped in a dirty table-cloth, the pens rusted, the paper glazed with a thick film of dust; and yet these were but adminicles of misery, and the true root of his depression lay round him on the table in the shape of misbegotten forgeries.”
Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne. The Wrong Box. (1889) London: Pan Books, 1966. pp. 72-73.

Aesopical (back to top)
Meaning uncertain.

“The Black, or Negro-Eunuchs, are appointed to guard the Apartment of the Women, and they make choice, for that office, of the most deform’d and most Aesopical, that can be found.”

Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, quoted in Peter Tompkins. The Eunuch and the Virgin: A Study of Curious Customs. New York: Bramhall House, 1962. p 49.

aggiornamento (back to top)

Daily living for monks and nuns.

“In the jargon of aggiornamento, asceticism can hardly class as an ‘in’ word.”
Donald L. Gelpi, S.J. Functional Asceticism: A Guideline for American Religious. New York: Sheed and Ward, 1966. p. 15.

agnates (back to top)

“The honor of a group of agnates is collective, and all assume full and equal responsibility for violently avenging any dishonor to any of them, whether it results from insult, injury, or homicide, or fornication or adultery with a wife, sister, or mother (Barth, 1965: 81–6, 137).”

Alan Page Fiske and Tage Shakti Rai. Virtuous Violence: Hurting and Killing to Create, Sustain, End, and Honor Social Relationships. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

agonistic (back to top)

“At the same time, the communal guest–host bond is the complement and reflection of the agonistic relations among all men in honor cultures: every man is potential guest and host to every other honorable man.”

Alan Page Fiske and Tage Shakti Rai. Virtuous Violence: Hurting and Killing to Create, Sustain, End, and Honor Social Relationships. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

aigrette (back to top)

”Thwarted in this, she hurried to fasten the aigrette set with diamonds and its three rust brown pheasant feathers over an unsightly bulge of fabric in the turban’s center front.”
Ann Chamberlin. The Sultan’s Daughter. New York: Forge, 1997. pp. 103-104.

Aldershottian (back to top)

Aldershottian

“In reactionary Russia in our own century a woman soldier organized an effective regiment of amazons, which disappeared only because it was Aldershottian enough to be against the Revolution.”
George Bernard Shaw, in his 1924 Preface to Saint Joan. New York: Penguin Books, Inc., 1946. p. 17.

alpenglow (back to top)

“When the first beams of sunlight hit the snow-covered mountains of Colorado each morning, the reflection of the sun’s rays turns the white snow pink. This hue is called alpenglow, and it is a beautiful sight to behold.”

Brian Luke Seaward. Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water: Reflections on Stress and Human Spirituality. (1997) Deerfield Beach, Fla.: Health Communications, Inc. 2007. p. 299.

altermondialist (back to top)

“More and more intellectuals and organization leaders of Arab, African, or Asian descent (mainly but not exclusively Muslims) have developed a position on successive Israeli governments and have rallied left-wing, far left, or altermondialist (but also right-wing and center-right) political movements that criticize Israeli policies.”
Tariq Ramadan. What I Believe. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. p. 104.

altricial (back to top)

“There are two kinds of hatching development types that occur in birds; precocial and altricial. Precocial chicks are those that can walk, have down, open eyes, and are ready to eat on their own within hours of hatching. … Crows (in fact all corvids) have altricial young which are naked little jelly-bean monsters with closed eyes upon hatching and are reliant on their parents/family for weeks to months to nearly a year (depending on the species).”

“I Am Not A Baby Crow!” Jennifer Campbell-Smith. The Corvid Blog. 13 October 2013.

ambarvalia (back to top)
An ancient Roman magical ceremony involving walking around the fields.

H. J. Rose. Religion in Greece and Rome. New York: Harper and Row, 1959. Originally published as Ancient Greek Religion (1946) and Ancient Roman Religion (1948), London: Hutchinson and Co., Limited.

amigados (back to top)

“A man had lived with a woman for eighteen years. They were not married, just amigados

* * *

And if a woman had lived with a man, bearing him children, she said so, and she neither lowered her eyes nor blushed with shame. She did, however, distinguish between amigado, or a state of nature, and that blessed condition achieved by the cacique mumbling a few words in Latin over her uncomprehending head; but without heat or emphasis. It was just a fact, of no importance.”

Julian Duguid. Green Hell. London: George Newnes, 1935. p. 34, 157.

amortize (back to top)

To cause to shrink over time, as payments on a loan decrease one’s debt. From the Latin for “death.”

“Such is the double effect of the temporal procession on our sentiments, and even more so on ressentiment: time discolors all the colors and tarnishes the flash of emotions, time amortizes joy just as it consoles pain, time puts gratitude to sleep just as it disarms rancor, the one and the other indistinctly.”
Vladimir Jankelevitch. Forgiveness. Translated by Andrew Kelley. University of Chicago Press, 2005. Originally Le Pardon, 1967. p 29.

anakalypteria (back to top)

The “gifts of uncovering” that a bride gives to her groom after he removes her veil.
H. J. Rose. Religion in Greece and Rome. New York: Harper and Row, 1959. p 33. Originally published as Ancient Greek Religion (1946) and Ancient Roman Religion (1948), London: Hutchinson and Co., Limited.

analphabetism (back to top)

Lack of an alphabet; illiteracy.

“…we [the Jews] are the only people who have never known analphabetism.”
Hannah Arendt, interviewed by French writer Roger Errera in The New York Review of Books, Oct. 26, 1978.

andirons (back to top)

“The andirons with the brass flowers at the ends appeared unreal; the burning logs were just logs that were burning and not the comfortable symbols of an indestructible mode of life.”

Ford Madox Ford. The Good Soldier. Originally 1915. New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1995. p 141. The footnote defines “andirons” as: “Pair of horizontal bars with short feet, one placed on each side of hearth to support burning wood.”

“We wound up on the brick hearth, my hair full of ashes and my head tender from where it had bumped against the andiron.”
Leah Hager Cohen. No Book But the World. New York: Riverhead Books, 2014. p. 280.

related: fender

“Macaulay issued his impromptu definition of an educated man – one who reads Plato with his feet on the fender. He meant, of course, reads Plato in Greek (and perhaps it would be well to add that he meant by a fender something that goes around a fireplace).”
Edward Le Comte, introduction to “Lycidas.” John Milton. Paradise Lost and Other Poems. New York: Penguin, 1981. p. 216.

anexelegktos (back to top)

“As being beyond scrutiny (anexelegktos), such stories, wrote Thucydides, ‘won their way to the mythical’ (muthodes), a term, that, as G. E. R. Lloyd observes, ‘clearly acquires pejorative undertones’ when used ‘in a collocation associated with unverifiability.'”

Lisa Zunshine. Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2006, revised March 2012. (Kindle Edition.)

anfractuosity (back to top)

“Deprived of the hunter’s instinct that had then driven us (or so it was, at least, for Abbot Melani), we dragged ourselves forward, suffering even more from the anfractuosities of the way, although my travelling companion was unwilling to admit it.”
Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti. Imprimatur. (2002) Translated from Italian to English by Peter Burnett (2008). Edinburgh: Polygon, 2008. p. 89.

animadversion (back to top)

Criticism.

“But after the fourteenth century the practices which fell under such a description were thought unworthy of any particular animadversion, unless they were connected with something which would have been of itself a capital crime, by whatever means it had been either essayed or accomplished.”

Sir Walter Scott, Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft (1830)

“Across the garden, a crow laughed derisively and muttered a few animadversions about upstart braggarts.”

Robert Anton Wilson. Coincidance: A Head Test. (1988) Temple, Ariz.: New Falcon Publications, 1996. p. 228.

“The likeness is what he is claiming, is formed by his perception — even if the likeness then also becomes itself the object of animadversion.”

Berel Lang. Heidegger’s Silence. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1996. p. 17.

“Gorgias salvó a su acarnio de la disciplina a cuentagotas y de otros inconvenientes similares, por lo que la ya franca animadversión de Esquines se tornó enfermiza.”
Vicente Herrasti. La muerte del filósofo (Acarnia en lontananza). (2004) Mexico: Santillana Ediciones Generales, 2008. p. 40.

“After some wounding comments [to Robert Southey about his poems] – ‘the four last lines appear to drag excrementitiously’ – Coleridge concluded: ‘I have animadverted on those poems only which are my particular favorites.’”

Adam Sisman. The Friendship: Wordsworth and Coleridge. New York: Viking, 2007. p. 149. Citing STC to RS, 27 December 1796; Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. E.L. Griggs (Oxford, 1956-71) 6 vols, 1, 290-1.

anosognosia (back to top)

“The word — which derives from the Greek nosos, “disease,” and gnosis, “knowledge” — denotes the inability to acknowledge disease in oneself. * * * Emotion and feeling are nowhere to be found in anosognosic patients, and perhaps this is the only felicitous aspect of their otherwise tragic condition. Perhaps it is no surprise that these patients’ planning for the future, their personal and social decision-making, is profoundly impaired. Paralysis is perhaps the least of their troubles.”

Antonio R. Damasio. Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. New York: Avon Books, 1998. p 62, 64.

“The word anosognosia means that a patient does not recognize or understand the nature of his illness. People sometimes experience anosognosia after strokes or brain injuries, and with diseases of the brain like Alzheimer’s.

Ken Duckworth, MD, medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, says, ‘Half of [all] people [with schizophrenia] don’t recognize that they’re sick.'”
“When schizophrenics don’t recognize their illness.” Connie Brichford. Everyday Health. June 9, 2014. Accessed Feb. 13, 2018.

anosognosia (back to top)

antimacassar

A cloth meant to protect furniture from the oil of human skin.

“…I would turn to and fro between the prayer-desk and the stamped velvet armchairs, each one always draped in its crocheted antimacassar…”
Marcel Proust. Swann’s Way (Du Cote de Chez Swann, 1917). Translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff (1921). New York: The Heritage Press, 1954. p. 51.

“Maybe all that languor of yesteryear is still out there somewhere in a slag heap of antimacassars and long sentences with dependent clauses, along with all the discarded decorative stuff that junks up art and clear communication.”
Patricia Hampl. Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime. Orlando, Fl.: Harcourt, 2006. p. 11.

antimacassar (back to top)

A cloth meant to protect furniture from the oil of human skin.

“…I would turn to and fro between the prayer-desk and the stamped velvet armchairs, each one always draped in its crocheted antimacassar…”
Marcel Proust. Swann’s Way (Du Cote de Chez Swann, 1917). Translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff (1921). New York: The Heritage Press, 1954. p. 51.

“Maybe all that languor of yesteryear is still out there somewhere in a slag heap of antimacassars and long sentences with dependent clauses, along with all the discarded decorative stuff that junks up art and clear communication.”
Patricia Hampl. Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime. Orlando, Fl.: Harcourt, 2006. p. 11.

antipeponthos (back to top)

Corrective justice (Greek).

Used multiple times in Vladimir Jankelevitch. Forgiveness. Translated by Andrew Kelley. University of Chicago Press, 2005. Originally Le Pardon, 1967.

apocatastasis (back to top)

Reconstitution, restitution, or restoration to the original or primordial condition. (Greek: ἀποκατάστασις, apokatástasis)

“…that road, the one that conducts her without let or hindrance to a point of crisis: to endings and apocatastasis.”

Nick Harkaway. Gnomon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2018. p. 4.

apostrophize (back to top)

To address someone who is not present, rhetorically.

“As I was in ignorance of the Ambassador’s good intentions, I abused him roundly, and when I found myself alone in a sort of jail I apostrophized His Excellency in terms with which my association with the convicts and my sea voyage had made me familiar.”
Nicolas Fromaget. Eunuchs, Odalisques, and Love: A Frenchman’s Amatory Adventures in Turkey. (Translated into English from the French Le Cousin de Mahomet, ou la Folie Salutaire (1742); translator unknown.) New York: Panurge Press, 1932. p. 41. (The author died in 1759; his year of birth is unknown and there is no surviving portrait or personal anecdote.)

“I thought that he was probably at the door, accompanied by the Cadi, so as to force me to be circumcised in view of the position in which I had been discovered with a Mahometan woman. I was so firmly convinced of this, that I pushed her roughly, not to say brutally, away from me, and extricated myself from her ardent embraces, apostrophizing her in terms which should have covered her with shame had she been susceptible of such a feeling.”
Ibid. pp. 188-189.

see also eastwood

To apostrophize someone represented by an empty chair. A verb coined Aug. 30, 2012 after actor Clint Eastwood spoke to the U.S. Republican Party Convention using an empty chair as a prop representing the current President Obama.

“At times, Eastwood sent the crowd into laughing fits when he pretended Obama was offering colorful objections. “What do you want me to tell Romney?” Eastwood asked the empty chair. … The Twitter handle ‘Invisible Obama,’ which said it was sitting ‘Stage left of Clint Eastwood,’ quipped that ‘The GOP built me.’ An hour after Eastwood’s speech, it already had 20,000 followers. The move spawned a new trend with people posting photos of themselves pointing at empty chairs with the hashtag ‘eastwooding.'”

“Eastwood, the empty chair and the speech everyone’s talking about.” Halimah Abdullah, CNN. August 31, 2012.

archaism (back to top)

An ancient or old-fashioned word or idiom.

“However, it is very legitimate to ask, whether Sharia is embraced in an effort to stem the tide of cultural alienation, an effort to return to “the good old days” (archaism in the words of Arnold Toynbee), or whether there may be an altogether different motive as the driving force.”
“Acceptance of Sharia Law in Nigeria.” Margit Cleveland, General Manager, RMS Media Services. www.internews.org/rmsmedia/sharia/sharia.html

argot (back to top)

Jargon.

“In evangelicals’ argot, you might say that there on the carpet I was convicted of my sinfulness.
Lauren F. Winner. Girl Meets God: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 2002. p. 255.

astrakhan (back to top)

Lamb’s wool, named after a city in Russia.

“She makes an imposing picture in high, laced boots, black underwear, a kind of lion tamer’s uniform, a gray astrakhan cap, and a mouth full of gold teeth.”
Erich Maria Remarque’s The Black Obelisk (1957). USA: Crest, 1958. p. 179.

B (back to top)

baetylia
bamboozle
banth
bazuco
beeves
befurbelowed
beslubbered
betel quids
bezoar
BFO
bibelot
bibliolatry
blackguardly scurrility
black world
bolmakissie
bombyx
bonzeling
borborygms
bovaryism
Brobdignagian
brogrammer
brutiful
bumf
bumptious
bureaucracy
burke

baetylia (back to top)

A sacred stone. A Romanization of the Hebrew, Beth El, where Jacob built a stone pillar according to the Bible.

See: George Ryley Scott. Phallic Worship: A History of Sex and Sexual Rites. (1966) London: Senate, 1996. p 109. Cited to Thomas Lewis, Book V, Ch 4, p 24.

bamboozle (back to top)

To fool or deceive.

“We have been bamboozled, however, by religionists, by politicians, by our fathers and mothers, by all sorts of people who tell us, ‘You’re not [eternal and part of the universe].’ “
Alan Watts. “The Philosophy of Meditation,” in Still the Mind: An Introduction to Meditation. Novato, California: New World Library, 2000. p 91-2.

banth (back to top)

“Simultaneously the creature shot into moonlight in full charge upon her, its tail erect, its tiny ears laid flat, its great mouth with its multiple rows of sharp and powerful fangs already yawning for its prey, its ten legs carrying it forward in great leaps, and now from the beast’s throat issued the frightful roar with which it seeks to paralyze its prey. It was a banth — the great, maned lion of Barsoom.”
Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Chessmen of Mars (Barsoom, #5). 1922.

bazuco (back to top)

“The Colombian capital is trying to wean addicts off a crack-like drug by giving them high-potency marijuana. In pilot program, 300 people addicted to bazuco, a cheap cocaine derivative that is as addictive as heroin, will receive marijuana bred with a high THC content to relieve the anxiety and jitters of withdrawal. Bazuco has become a public health crisis in Bogotá, where at least 7,500 of an estimated 9,500 homeless people are addicts. Possession of small quantities of marijuana is legal in Colombia, but dealing it is not.”

“Bogotá, Colombia: Medical marijuana.” The Week, May 17, 2013. p. 6.

beeves (back to top)

Cattle.

"One way a band select from forage drives
A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine,
From a fat meadow-ground, or fleecy flock,
Ewes and their bleating lambs, over the plain…"
John Milton. "Paradise Lost," Book XI, Lines 646-649. Paradise Lost and Other Poems. [Paradise Lost was published in 1667.] New York: Penguin, 1981. p. 317.

“‘The animals selected were beeves about to undergo slaughter in the Chicago stock-yards,’ wrote La Garde, deeply perplexing the ten or fifteen people who would be reading his book later than the 1930s, when the word ‘beeves,’ meaning cattle, dropped from everyday discourse.”
Mary Roach. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. New York: Norton, 2004. p. 134.

“While Gen. Travis laid in a supply of extra ‘beeves’ in advance of the Mexican assault from Gen. Santa Anna at the Alamo, we are fearful of running low on Slim Jims and Moon Pies as the Walmarts are turned into detention centers for citizens robbed of their constitutional rights.”

“We Texans are brave enough to resist Pentagon.” James C. Moore. CNN. May 6, 2015.

befurbelowed (back to top)

“Children, freshly befurbelowed, were gathering for their games under the oaks.”

Kate Chopin. The Awakening. (1899) New York: Avon, 1972. P. 23.

beslubbered (back to top)

Probably a coinage from slobber, to drool or lick so that something is covered with saliva, and blubber, the fat of sea mammals.

“In due time he was dragged across, half strangled and dreadfully beslubbered by the feculent waters.”
Ambrose Bierce. “The City of Political Distinction.” Printed in The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter, and Fantastic Fables. New York: Albert & Charles Boni, 1926. p. 193.

betel quids (back to top)

“Heavy users of betel quids reveal their addiction when they smile. Their teeth are stained a reddish-black, dyed from years of chewing potent parcels of areca nuts and tobacco, wrapped in a lime-coated betel leaf.”

“Nothing to smile about: Asia’s deadly addiction to betel nuts.” Hilary Whiteman, CNN, Nov. 5, 2013.

bezoar (back to top)

A kind of brain tumor or stone believed by alchemists to have magical properties.

“A bird with such trivial news to impart surely harbors no bezoar in his skull…”
Sjón. From the Mouth of the Whale. (2008) Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb (2011). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013. p. 19.

C (back to top)

cabalistic flapdoodle
cacique
caique
cairngorn
calaboosed
calibanism
caparisoned
capercailzie
captious
cardiognosis
carissime
carminative
carom
casque
catafalque
cathect
cavaillons
ceiled
chaleur
chamfered
chantey
chapfallen
charmylopi
charpoy
chemolithoautotrophic
cheshbon nefesh
chimerical
churl
clitpenoid
clusterfrack
cocotte
coffle
compassarium
concordat
condign
confab
conscientization
conspicuous austerity
contumelious
cooee
coracle
cosmomorphism
cottabus
counterworld
cowboy up
crapulous
critter
cryoprotection
cuckold
cucurbit
cunya
curragh
cynic spasm
cynocertain
cytoarchitectonic

D (back to top)

damne
dalmatica
defixion
degel shachor
deliquesce
demosclerosis
desoufflage
desquamation
dietrologia
dight
disintegrating babelic prism
disordered philological oddments
displacement activities
dissentient
dolmen
draggletail
dreadnaught
drinkitite
dropsical
drouth
duded up
duumvirate
dystopian simulacrum

E (back to top)

ecdysiastically
echolalia
edentulous
egoic
ekpyrotic
electuary
eleemosynary
elixir
enceinte
encomiastic
endopsychic automatism
endovelate
enfeoff
enflesh
ensorcel
entelechy
Ephialtes
eppur si muove
equipoise
espadrilles
eternullity
ethicokabbalistic
etiolated
euhemerized
euphrasie
exinanition
ezelbruggetjes

F (back to top)

fanfaron
farl
farouche
fata morgana
fenrissonr
feridjie
Fernweh
fescennine
filotimo
fingerspitzengefuehl
finical
fissiparous
fitra
flâcherie
flagitious
flamigerous
flapdoodle
flinders
flâneur
flense
floccinaucinihilipilification
flophouse
foolscap
forelock-tugger
froideur
frowardness
frowzy
frühvollendet
furze

fussbudgetry

fylffots

G (back to top)

galenical
galboy
gasmantel
gazofilacio
gastrulate
gay
gegu
Gelassenheit
gentilezza
gerontocracy
gestetnered
gibbous
gimbals
gleet
gloomth
gluggavedur
gnomic
goddam
goffered
gormless
goudou-goudou
greaves
gueridon
guyed

H (back to top)

haboob
Hackordnung
hallux
harridan
haruspicy
haskalah
haversack
heartwood
henna gaijin
hexateuchal
hilla-ridden
hipster
hornbook
humilific
hure
hyperdelic
hypertrophy

I (back to top)

iataxqhana
idiographic
idoneous
Ijtihad
imaginal
immanensity
indigenous pyrophilia
ineffable bosh
inglenook
inouï
involucre
ipsedixitism
irredentist
irrefragable
irremediable smash
irruption
isolatoes

irredentist (back to top)

“States could therefore exploit the threat from the living dead to acquire new territory, squelch irredentist movements, settle old scores, or subdue enduring rivals.”

Daniel W. Drezner. Theories of International Politics and Zombies: Revived Edition. Princeton University Press, 2014.

J (back to top)

Jamahiriya
janeite
jatismara
jet d’eau
juche

K (back to top)

kamptulicon
kantaoming
karass
katagelasticism
kelleh minar
khevisberi
kirtle
kompromat
kova tembel

L (back to top)

Laodicean
latifundum
leman
lettered gentility
liget
lickerish
logomachy
logotherapy
lorgnette
lothario
loup-garou
lupanar
lych-gate

M (back to top)

macadamised
macaronic
Machtstaat
magical thinking
Maginot Line
marl
mantic
man-woman hour
mara
marabout
megrim
mesalliance
methylated
microhistory
misprision
mithridate
moil
monoclinous
monomania
monozukuri
moot
mopery
mother-naked
mortsafe
mulct
muntu
myrmidon
mythologeme
mythoscape

N (back to top)

naivasha
narcostate
nea-con
neuroenteric
neurtue
niblick
nigrescent
nizam
nouement d’aiguillette

nomophobia
nonmootness
nonoil
nowism
nuncupative
nurdled

O (back to top)

omerta
omniincompetence
omphaloskepsis
onto-axiological
opacous
opsimath
orfling
oriel
orison
orotund
orrery
ostrich complex
overstand

P (back to top)

palaver
panchreston
papyromania
papyrophobe
parachronism
paraenesis
paralinguistics
parapraxes
paravanes
pawl
percussive sublimation
petrific
pettifoggery
pharyngealised
philosophaster
phrontisterion
phugoid
pillion
pilniewinks
pleonexia
poco-curantism
poltoonery
polymath
pongee
prayopaveshan
precipitevolissimevolmente
predella
prescind
prestidigitatory
promnesia
pronoia
propaedeutics
propheteia
protoplasmic
pseudocyesis
psychomachia
puerility
punctilio
purfled
pyrolatry
pyrophoric

Q (back to top)

quiddity
quisling

R (back to top)

rachmones
raddled
rarebit
rebetika
red kisses
religiofication
repristinate
resident genius
res odiosae
revanchist
rhodomontade
rhothios
rigor cartis
rimbaugh
riverine
roisterer
roozmaregi

S (back to top)

Sabbath gasbag
saccade
salariat
samizdat
sanctibullying
sanguinolent
sapid
sartori
satyagraha
saudade
savonon
saxaul
scalene
scathe
scrump
sdvig
semiliterate famulus
semibarbarous
sempiternal
sexsomnia
sfumato
sgriob
shaffafiyya
shagreen
sham
shambolic
shekkeh
shefakat
shoganai
shrasp
shtarker
simarre
simon-pure
sinecure
sirenomelia
siroc
sirreverence
six sigma
skua-bitten
slainthe
sluttish
snuffling gabble
somatophobia
souterrain
sozzled
spandrel
spatulate
spinet
spiritus fermenti
spoor
stanchion
stelionnat
stentorian
stertorious
stridulation
stupidaggine
suborn
sudoku
suicism
suffumigation
superannuated
superbity
supercinnabar
sutler
swan upping
swivet
synallagmatic
synecdoche
synod unbenign
syntagma

T (back to top)

tabac
tachisme
taikonaut
talatat
tarradiddle
tatterdemalion
tekelteh
telluric
tenterhooks
termagant
tertium quid
Teufelskreis
thakat
thaumaturge
theophorous
theotropic
threnody
Thymotic
tollenone
topoanalysis
totefolio
towzled
treacertains
truckle
turpiloquium
tyro

U (back to top)

uitlander
ukase
undercroft
unkickability
unshriven
unsquopped
upstander
uranography

V (back to top)

vaivode
vambraces
vardonic
velleities
vertiginous
veve
vexatious
villatic
Vitamin W
voxel

vaivode (back to top)

“The vaivode gave Boumeh a condescending smile.”

Amin Maalouf, Balthasar’s Odyssey (2000) Translated from the French by Barbara Bray. New York: Arcade, 2002. p. 115.

vambraces (back to top)

“‘Patros Athanasios,’ the serving woman said, gesturing to a young dark-haired man in full military uniform – chain-mail shirt, steel greaves, hard leather vambraces, and woolen cloak.”

E. E. Ottoman, Like Fire Through Bone. Tallahassee, Fla.: Dreamspinner Press, 2013.

vardonic (back to top)

A play on the word “sardonic,” as applied to golfer Harry Vardon.

“His concentration was so complete, he seldom spoke during a round and played with an enigmatic, perpetual half-smile on his face so central to his on-course behavior that one writer labeled it ‘vardonic.'”
Mark Frost. The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf. New York: Hyperion, 2002. p. 28.

velleities (back to top)

“He was barely able to withdraw himself from memories, feelings, loose velleities that had escaped him during the week and now in these moments of silence and inner freedom were flowing back on him with urgency.”

Michael Novak, The Tiber Was Silver, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co, 1961. p. 185.

vertiginous (back to top)

Spinning, or having or causing vertigo (a sense of spinning).

“There is a vertiginous feeling in knowing that the labyrinth repeats itself–with variations–endlessly.”
William Poundstone.  Labyrinths of Reason:  Paradox, Puzzles and the Frailty of Knowledge.  New York:  Anchor Books, 1988. p. 170.

”Lotto kissed the plum presses under her eyes, the freckles on her pale skin. He felt a vertiginous awe.”

Lauren Groff. Fates and Furies. New York: Riverhead, 2015.

veve (back to top)

“A veve is a design that represents the figure and power of an astral force.”

Dean Koontz. Frankenstein: City of Night (#2 of 5 in the Frankenstein series) New York: Bantam, 2005. p. 419.

vexatious (back to top)

Bothersome, concerning.

“Data are vexatious; theory is quite straightforward.”
“The clouds of unknowing.”  The Economist.  March 20, 2010.  p. 83.

villatic (back to top)
Farmyard.

“tame villatic fowl”
John Milton. “Samson Agonistes,” line 1695. Paradise Lost and Other Poems. New York: Penguin, 1981. p. 397.

Vitamin W (back to top)

“He tries to get into Arafat’s army, but again, he doesn’t have the right connections. He doesn’t have “vitamin W.” (Vitamin W is an expression for wasta in Arabic, which refers to political, social, and personal connections.)”
Jessica Stern. Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill. New York: Ecco, 2004. p. 50.

voxel (back to top)

“Neuroscientists divvy up their fMRI scans into tens of thousands of small pieces, called voxels, each corresponding to a small region of the brain. When you scan a brain, even a cold dead fish brain, there’s certain amount of random noise coming through on each voxel.”

Jordan Ellenberg. How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking. New York: Penguin, 2014. p. 103.

W (back to top)

weltschmerz
whoonga
wordfact

weltschmerz (back to top)

“Try to believe you want him here because of what he unwittingly demonstrates when he says he can’t choose between Rice Krispies and Cheerios. What he’s showing you must be weltschmerz: the knowledge that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind.

“To Do List for Morning.” Stephen Ira. Printed in The Collection, ed. by Tom. Léger and Riley MacLeod. New York: Topside Press, 2012. p. 239.

whoonga (back to top)

“…armed gangsters [in South Africa] have begun raiding AIDS clinics and mugging patients to steal the ARV medication, Stocrin. Together with cannabis, rat poison and some other ingredients, it is being used to make a lethal new drug, known as whoonga or wunga. Selling for just 15-35 rand a dose to give you a high, it is spreading like wildfire through the black townships. Just two puffs are said to get you hooked.”

“Getting to grips.” The Economist. Dec. 4, 2010. p. 60.

wordfact (back to top)

The process of how language shapes our perception and ultimately the truth itself.

“There is a danger, however, in the language of symbols, for once words become removed from things, they begin to shape their own reality. John Kenneth Galbraith calls this phenomenon ‘wordfact.’ An excellent illustration is the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Donna Woolfolk Cross. Word Abuse: How the words we use use us. New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, Inc. 1979. p. 30.

X (back to top)

xeroxlore
xoogler

xeroxlore (back to top)

Rumors spread by photocopying.

“The howlers [among urban legends], it turns out, are examples of a subgenre called xeroxlore. The employee who posts one of these lists admits that he did not compile the items himself but took them from a list someone gave him, which were taken from another list, which excerpted letters that someone in some office somewhere really did receive.”
Steven Pinker. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. (1994) New York: HarperPerennial, 1995. p. 388.

xoogler (back to top)

“But his complaint resonates with some Xooglers (the nickname for former Google employees), who say decision-making has become painfully slow as the firm has grown.”

“How long will Google’s magic last?” Economist. Dec. 4, 2010. p. 78.

Y (back to top)

yclept
(back to top)
yoga
(back to top)

yclept (back to top)

Named.

“This mighty monster had a son yclept Sharrkan…”
Richard F. Burton, ed. and trans. The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night: A Plain and Literal Translation of the Arabian Nights Entertainments. New York: The Limited Editions Club, 1934. Vol 1. “King Omar bin al-Nu’uman and his Sons Sharrkan and Zau al-Makan.” p 520.

yoga (back to top)

An Eastern spiritual practice of stretching and breathing. From the Sanskrit meaning “to join together.”

“And since each degree of change in the heavenly bodies creates a new frequency of energy, the [Jyotish] astrologer must memorize several thousand individual patterns between any two or three planets–these arrangements are called yogas, literally the ‘yoking’ of stars. * * * In ancient India this closing of the gap was described as yoga or union (the same Sanskrit root gave us the verb ‘to yoke’).”
Deepak Chopra. How To Know God: The Soul’s Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries. New York: Harmony Books, 2000. p 264-265, 290.

Z (back to top)

zamburek
zamindar
zar
zareba
zenkey

zamburek (back to top)

“It wore an appearance partaking more of the character of a military expedition than one purely for pleasure; particularly as in the collected crowd were to be seen a body of two hundred camels, called Zamburek, each bearing a small swivel gun on its back, which were fired as the royal foot touched the royal stirrup. * * * As he approached his own horse, he found the astrologer royal ready with his watch to give him the true time for touching his foot with the stirrup, and then by the assistance of his Shatir Bashi, who placed his hand under his arm, he vaulted into the saddle. At that moment, the discharge of the two hundred swivels from the camel artillery was heard, the great band of the nokara, consisting of drums, and cymbals, and hautbois began to play, and there was a shout of laudatory exclamations and prayers from those around.”
James Morier. Zohrab, the Hostage. London: Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street, 1832. Vol. I, pp. 32-33, 34.

zamindar (back to top)

”Still inclined to favor the Muslim way of doing things, Maryam held that it made no difference if you were the daughter of a feudal zamindar or an illiterate Punjabi peasant; every patient at the Paagal Khanaah was treated with kindness.”

Deborah Baker. The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2011. p. 129-130.

zar (back to top)

“Most Ethiopians, including the Beta-Israel, believe in the cult of the zar, a personal spirit that may be male or female, is usually malevolent, and causes terrible disease or other misfortune — most often to women between the ages of fifteen and thirty. The shamans who deal with zars and other spirits are called balazar, master of the zar.

Louis Rapoport. The Lost Jews: Last of the Ethiopian Falashas. New York: Stein and Day, 1980. p. 172.

zareba (back to top)

“Reared in a land where to-morrow is the busiest day of the week, he distrusts bustle, and, lest by an oversight he should be forced to hurry, he has erected a strict zareba of red-tape through which he gazes with a stony, departmental attention to business.”

Julian Duguid. Green Hell. London: George Newnes, 1935. p. 23.

zenkey (back to top)

A hybrid between a donkey mother and zebra father. In 2003, the only living zenkey was at Nasu Safari Park north of Tokyo.