Sunday, September 11, 2011


wool-gath-er-ing (wo͝olˌgaT͟H(ə)riNG)

1. An idle indulgence in fantasy or imagination, usually in avoidance of more productive tasks.
All writers of fiction hope to turn woolgathering into a fruitful occupation.

Synonyms: castle in the air, conceiving, daydream, dream, fancy, fancying, figment of imagination, fond hope, fool's paradise, head trip, imagination, imagining, in a zone, mind trip, musing, phantasm, phantasy, pie in the sky, pipe dream, reverie, stargazing, trip, vision, wish.

1. Of a dreamy or absent minded nature.
I never regret the daydreaming, but I resent the woolgathering expression that lets others know that I've stopped paying attention.

Synonyms: absent-minded, absorbed, abstracted, airheaded, airheaded, bemused, careless, daydreaming, distracted, distrait, dreaming, dreamy, engrossed, faraway, forgetful, goofing off, head in the clouds, heedless, inattentive, inconscient, lost, mooning, moony, oblivious, out to lunch, pipe dreaming, preoccupied, remote, removed, scatterbrained, space cadet, spacey, spacey, surroundings, unaware of events, unconscious, unheeding, unmindful, unobservant, unthinking, withdrawn.

* I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that this word is a mockery of the actual act of gathering wool from places frequented by sheep, like a pasture or a barn, rather than sheering the wool off the sheep themselves.
** For the purposes of listening to Supertramp, let's say a woolgatherer is a dreamer.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


gad-zooks (gadˈzo͞oks)

1. An expression of surprise, shock etc.
Well, gadzooks! Zippy's getting his freak on.

Synonyms: ain't that the cat's pajamas, ay caramba, ay chihuahua, blow me down, by Jove, crikey, cripes, dagnabbit, fiddlesticks, gee whiz, goodness gracious, great Scott, Great Googly Moogly, Heavens to Betsy, holy cow, gosh, holy Hannah, holy mackerel, holy Moses, horsefeathers, impertinent little monkey, Jiminy Christmas, jinkies, Judas priest, Jumpin' Jehosaphat, Merlin's beard, moly, leaping lizards, oh my God, oh my Goddess, oh my stars and garters, Suffering Sappho, sweet merciful crap, Sweet Mother of Preston Tucker, Sweet Zombie Jesus, well bust my buttons, "Well paint me red and call me Shirley," what in tarnation, what in the world, wow, wowzers, yipes.

* This word might be an alteration of God's hooks, the nails of the crucifixion of Christ.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


de-fen-es-tra-tion (dēˌfenəˈstrāSHən)

1. The act of throwing someone or something out the window.
This was the favorite word of someone I met today. The funniest defenestration story that I've heard lately was about a guy at a party on the eighth floor of a building. He sat next to a window to have a cigarette when an animal hopped into his lap. Upon second glance, he realized it was a skunk, screamed and tossed it out the window. Everyone, who has listened to this story, has said that the hosts of the party should have have warned their guests about this unusual pet.

Synonyms: throw out the window.

1. The act of completely removing Microsoft Windows from a PC in favor of a better OS (typically Linux).
I've f**king had it with this computer. It's time for a defenestration.

Synonyms: throw out the windows.

* Defenestration would also be a good name for this Violent Femmes song.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


phle-bot-o-mize (fləˈbätəmlīz)

1. To perform a phlebotomy: to open a vein to withdraw or let blood.
There was a time when, if you were sick for too long, they'd phlebotmomize you to get rid of the bad blood, evil spirits and such.
2. To draw blood.
The first proof Jonathan Harker had of vampires was watching Dracula's brides phlebotmomized a small child.

Synonyms: bleed, draw blood, let blood.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


un-soul-clogged (n-sl-klgd)

1. Happiness or contentment after a period of upset.
Since I got home, I've been
unsoulclogged and I owe it all to my wonderful family.

Synonyms: blessed, blest, blissful, blithe, can't complain, captivated, cheerful, chipper, chirpy, content, contented, convivial, delighted, ecstatic, elated, exultant, flying high, gay, glad, gleeful, gratified, happy, intoxicated, jolly, joyful, joyous, jubilant, laughing, light, lively, looking good, merry, mirthful, on cloud nine, overjoyed, peaceful, peppy, perky, playful, pleasant, pleased, sparkling, sunny, thrilled, tickled, tickled pink, up, upbeat, walking on air.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


consanguinity (knsn-gwn-t, -sng-)

1. Relationship by blood or by a common ancestor.
My daughter and cousin are both in Toronto right now with no other relatives. When I told my grandmother that they were going to a big family dinner tonight, she said they were like her, going out in the world and building their own families, without depending on notions of
2. A close affinity or connection.
Part of my hesitance to spend time with my estranged relatives is that it will be awkward at a time when we might expect

Synonyms: affiliation, affinity, agnate, blood-relationship, brotherhood, cognate, connection, family tie, filiation, kin, kindred, kindredship, kinship, lineage, race, sisterhood, strain.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


in-a-mor-at-a (inˌaməˈrätə)

1. A female lover or woman with whom one is in love.
Your inamorata misses you.

Synonyms: ladylove, mistress, paramour, sweetheart, woman.


la-cu-na (l-kyn)

1. A language gap, which occurs when there is no direct translation in the target language for a lexical term found in the source language.
There's no wonder we have trouble expressing our feelings. A great lacuna exists in the English language when some languages have twenty or more words for love and we have just one.
2. An absent part, especially in a book or other piece of writing, often referring to an ancient manuscript or similar.
The recent lacuna in my blog happened because I moved across the country and got rather busy with real life.
3. A blank gap or missing part.
The lacuna in my blog should be filled with inamorata, consanguinity, primogenitor, beleaguer, requisition, sanctity, delectation, unsoulclogged, allegro, effervescence, succor and thermogenic.

Synonyms: break, cavity, depression, gap, hiatus, interim, interval, opening, space .

Friday, August 12, 2011


ex-e-ge-sis (eksiˈjēsis)

1. The interpretation of any literary passage, but especially scripture.
Although it ignores the patriarchal heterosexistist tradition, my exegesis of the passage "Thou shalt not lie with a woman as thou wouldst lie with a man" is that God loves the lesbians! The movie, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, is evidence that I'm not alone in that interpretation.

Synonyms: criticism, hermeneutics, interpretation, literary criticism, psychoanalytic criticism, reading, revealing, unmasking.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


doo-hic-key* (do͞oˌhikē)

1. A thing (used in a vague way to refer to something whose name one cannot recall).
You're absolutely correct, dear! so far we haven't seen a single good-looking pair of legs...a single sequin-encrusted dohickey firm, rounded breasts! this show is a disaster, complete and utter disaster (modified Frank Zappa lyric)!

dohingy, thingamabobber, thingamadoo, thingamajig, thingamajigger, whatchamacallit.

* Not to be confused with "dohickey," which politely describes as an "alternate" spelling of "doohickey." In other words, you may not remember what the thing is, but you better not forget how to spell the substitute word for it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


a-post-a-tize (əˈpästəˌtīz)

1. To give up or renounce one's position or belief.
Thank the goddess that the 2011 Wonder Woman pilot episode didn't get picked up. Adrianne Palicki, though adorable, plays a Wonder Woman who has entirely apostatized core characteristics of the original Wonder Woman. The original Wonder Woman supported the U.S. military out of her love and devotion to Captain Steve Trevor. Adrianne Palicki's character dumps Steve to aid local police and the F.B.I., while running a corporation that markets action figures of her character to pay for her staff and flat screen T.V.'s.*

Synonyms: abandon, abscond, back out, break faith, change sides, cross, depart, desert, fall away from, forsake, go, go back on, go over, go over the fence, lapse, leave, pull out, quit, rat, rebel, reject, renege, renounce, revolt, run out, schism, sell out , spurn, take a walk, tergiversate, tergiverse, turn, turn coat, walk out on, withdraw.

* Someone even went so far as to call her a topless robot.
** I had to include Jacaranda's Wonder Woman Song in here somewhere.
*** For the purists, the original Wonder Woman appears below.

Monday, August 8, 2011


ear-horn (ərhôrn)

1. A passive funnel-like amplification cone designed to gather sound energy and direct it into the ear canal.
My favorite use of an earhorn in English literature is when Reepicheep tries to introduce Eustace Scrub to an elderly dwarf using an earhorn. Of course, the dwarf mishears Eustace's first name and asks, with some indignation and a little bit of snark, "Useless? If he's useless, why did you bring him to me?"

Synonyms: bone anchored hearing aid, cochlear implant, ear horn,* ear trumpet, hearing aid.

2. An eggcorn for eggcorn.
An earhorn is idiosyncratic substitution of a word or phrase that also bears a phonetic likeness.

Synonyms: eggcorn.

* Sometimes, I just like to make words into compound words.


snark (snärk)

1. A snide remark.
Having not seen her for a few years, I didn't expect to be greeted with such snark.

Synonyms: abase, abuse, affront, aspersion, black eye, blasphemy, cheap shot, contempt, contumely, derision, despite, discourtesy, disdainfulness, disgrace, disrespect, ignominy, impertinence, impudence, incivility, indignity, insolence, invective, libel, mockery, obloquy, offense, opprobrium, outrage, put-down, rudeness, scorn, scurrility, shame, slam, slander, slap, slap in the face, slight, snub, superciliousness, taunt, unpleasantry, vilification, vituperation.

2. A graph in which every node has three branches, and the edges cannot be coloured in fewer than four colours without two edges of the same colour meeting at a point.
Much to Fonzie and Freddie's confusion, Mel insisted on laying out the new rules for the house in a snark displayed on HD TV.

Synonyms: a graph.

3. A fluke or unrepeatable result or detection in an experiment.
The pursuit of alchemy begun with a snark in the kitchen of Gandalph's grandmother.

Synonyms: accident, blessing, break, contingency, fluke, fortuity, fortunate, fortune, good fortune, good luck, incident, lucky break, odd chance, quirk, stroke of luck, windfall.

4. A creature invented by Lewis Carroll.
"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
Yet I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums---'' The Bellman broke off in alarm,
For the Baker had fainted away.
- From The Hunting of the Snark.
Synonyms: boojum.

1. To speak in snide remarks.
"I know you are, but what am I?" she snarked.
2. To snort.
Mel snarked at Amanda when Amanda put away the cat treats.
Synonyms: abase, affront, aggravate, annoy, blister, curse, cut to the quick, debase, degrade, deride, dishonor, disoblige, dump on, flout, gird, humiliate, injure, irritate, jeer, libel, mock, outrage, pan, provoke, put down, revile, ridicule, roast, scoff, slam, slander, slight, sneer, snub, step on one's toes, taunt, tease, underestimate, vex .

Sunday, August 7, 2011


sup-er-cil-i-ous (so͞opərˈsilēəs)

1. The quality of demonstrating arrogant superiority to those around them.
After much deliberation at a bar with my best friend last week, we decided that the one quality all of my deadly exes and current love interests bore in common was a supercilious self-confidence. Is that just another way of saying I'm attracted to assholes?
2. Expressive of contempt.
The last thing my love sent me was a supercilious emoticon. It's hard to keep one's hopes up under such circumstances - delusional even.

Synonyms: arrogant, asshole, bitchy, bossy, cavalier, cocky, condescending, contemptuous, dick, disdainful, egomaniac, egotistic, haughty, high-and-mighty, imperious, insolent, lofty, nervy, overbearing, patronizing, proud, putting on airs, scornful, snobby, superior, uppity, vainglorious.

Friday, August 5, 2011


ga-jil-li-on (gäjzilyən)

1. An unspecified large number.
Since I've been home, I feel like a gajillion pounds have been lifted off my shoulders. I think I'm going to be ok.

Synonyms: bajillion, bazillion, bunch, dillion, eleventy, fantillion, gadjillion, gagzillion, gazillion, gobs, godzillion, grillion, hojillion, kabillion, kajillion, katrillion, killion, robillion, loads, heaps, oodles, scads, skillion, squillion, tons, umptillion, zillion.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


bi-far-i-ous (bye-FAIR-ee-us)

1. Two-fold or double.
In parting, I found his attitude toward me bifarious. On the one hand, he was sad to see me leaving, so much so that he would almost break down into tears. On the other hand, my leaving seemed like such an imposition, such a burden to him, that he would lash out in sudden fits of anger. In truth, I currently feel hostage to his bifarious manner and my leaving tomorrow is a great consolation to me.
2. Ambiguous.
I want to go back to my favorite dress shop before and buy all of my favorite things in green because green is the most bifarious colour; it can be earthy or jealous, greedy or full of life. I'm not sure if Kermit was right about how easy it is being green because I would wear it all the time.
3. In two rows on either side of.
Kermit blends in with the bifarious leaves.

Synonyms: ambiguous, bifold, binary, binate, coupled, double, dual, dualistic, duple, duplex, duplicate, duplicated, geminate, paired, repeated, second, twice, twin, two times, twofold.

Monday, August 1, 2011


is-a-cous-tic (ī′sə ko̵̅o̅stik)

1. A line or curve, upon a diagram of acoustic intensities, drawn everywhere through points of equal intensity of sound.
She was always hearing melodies in her head, making up songs in her dreams. Having never learned to read music, she recorded them on paper with isacoustic lines.

Synonyms: wiggly line.

* When I first saw this word, I thought it might be a typo, leaving out the space between is and acoustic, like in the sentence: "This version of Fiona Apple's Inside and Out is acoustic," but it's not and, being a nerd, I think that's pretty cool.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


gauche* (gsh)

1. Left-handed awkward and clumsy.
Have cut my right hand on a broken glass and sprained my right leg, I look very gauche, hobbling around and whining about everything. I am really lucky to have such good friends to help me out and put up with me.
2. Winding; twisted; warped; -- applied to curves and surfaces.
I wondered as I did it, whether I would regret throwing out that pallet Amanda painted on, but she left it in a pile of garbage, so I wasn't sure what else I should do. Now, I feel like going out and buying her more pallets to use as gauche canvases.
3. Lacking grace and perceptivity in social situations; crude; tactless; socially inept.
The most vengeful people I know are either very gauche in their tactics and, therefore, not a threat; or they are so vindictive and conniving that I haven't recognized them yet and should be very afraid.
4. A mathematical term to mean skewed.
The whole photo seems crooked because the horizon line is so gauche.

Synonyms: all thumbs, awkward, blundering, blunderous, bulky, bumbling, bungling, butterfingered, clownish, clumsy, crooked, crude, elephantine, gawkish, gawky, graceless, ham-handed, heavy, heavy-handed, helpless, hulking, ill-shaped, incompetent, inelegant, inept, inexperienced, inexpert, lubberly, lumbering, lumpish, maladroit, oafish, ponderous, splay, stumbling, unable, unadept, uncoordinated, uncouth, undexterous, uneasy , ungainly, unhandy, unskillful, untactful, untalented, untoward, unwieldy, weedy.

* From the French word, meaning left.
** Looks like lefties get a bed wrap here, doesn't it?

Friday, July 29, 2011


oo-bleck (blk)

1. A non-Newtonian fluid made from two parts corn starch to one part water, with unusual physical properties.*
At this point, moving out of the province feels a little bit like running on oobleck. I hope to have a few days, after all is said and done, to just sit and say goodbye to the ocean. It might be a while before I see it again, even if the amazing people that I associate with it might come visit me someday. I wish the Pacific could do the same.
2. A fictional green precipitation in the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck.
What would you do if you were stuck in a big puddle of oobleck?


* This shit is something like a solid, but is actually a liquid... it's crazy!
** I know this term was meant to refer to the most delicious Frosty drink/dessert served at Wendy's restaurants, but it accurately describes oobleck as well!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


op-er-at-rix (p-rtrks)

1. Same as a female operator/operatress.*
The nurse, who was operatrix of the x-ray machine, would have none of my whining or squirming about.

Synonyms: controller, operator, operatress.

* But it somehow sounds more domineering, doesn't it?
** You can see by the draconian eyes on the girl in the picture that she is a little evil.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


drac-o-ni-an (drey-koh-nee-uhn, druh-)

1. Very severe or strict.*
I'm tired of draconian servitude toward schedules. I want to work when I feel like it and board a plane when I feel like it. Fuck it, I don't want to work...
2. Of or resembling a dragon.
This draconian princess cannot be killed by fire!

Synonyms: brutal, cruel, drastic, exorbitant, extreme, heavy-handed, oppressive, rough, severe, strict, very severe.

* This usage of the word takes its root from Draco, a famous lawgiver of Athens, 621 b. c. Used especially in the phrase Draconian punishment.


boo-jum* (bü-jəm)

1. A geometric pattern sometimes observed on the surface of superfluid helium-3.
First Dude: Dude! I don't think you should be drinking that stuff. We don't even know what it is!
Second Dude:
Nonsense! This is superfluid helium-3!

First D
ude: What? How can you tell?
Second Dude: Look at the boojum pattern on the surface. [Drinks the trippy-looking fluid and begins to morph into High-Pitched Voice Man.]

Synonym: trippy-looking pattern.**

2. A type of tree from California and Mexico that looks like the love child of a cactus and a Christmas tree.
Sometimes the boojums look like claws, reaching for the sun.

Synonym: trippy-looking tree.

3. An imaginary animal introduced by C. L. Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), as a particularly dangerous variety of ‘snark,’ into his “Hunting of the Snark.”
"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
Yet I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums---'' The Bellman broke off in alarm,
For the Baker had fainted away.
- From The Hunting of the Snark.
Synonyms: bad-tempered snark, cranky snark, snark on steroids.

* Also spelled boogum.
** This pattern is good for desktops or screen savers.