Saturday, April 30, 2011


leg-er-de-main (lĕjˌər-də-mānˈ)

1. Deceitful cleverness, especially with regards to implied magic.
Through a bit of legerdemain, some hatmaker turned Smurfette's vagina into a hat!

Synonyms: artfulness, conjuring, fallacious adroitness, hocus-pocus, lies, magic, manipulation, slight of hand, trickery.

Friday, April 29, 2011


on-o-mat-o-poe-ia (ŏnˌə-mătˌə-pēˈə, -mäˌtə-)

1. A word that imitates the sound of the thing it describes.
Simon Soundman likes onomatopoeia too much!

Synonyms: yes.


ob-strep-er-ous (əb-strĕpər-əs)

1. Loud and disapproving.
Pam sent me obstreperous messages, when she noticed that none of her favorite words were defined in my blog today.

Synonyms: bitchy, blusterous, boisterous, booming, clamorous, disorderly, loud, loudly fractious, out of hand, piercing, raising Cain, rambunctious, riotous, roaring, roof-raising, rowdy, screaming, strepitous, tumultous, unmanageable, unruly, uproarious, vociferous, wild.


bom-bas-tic (bŏmăsˈtĭk)

1. Important or respectable sounding with little substance or actual meaning.
Shaggy is bombastic; his beats are fantastic, so romantic...*

Synonyms: inflated, stilted, pompous, lofty, over-filled, grandiloquent, high-flown.

* Mr. Bean can also be rather bombastic.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


soph-is-try (sŏfˈĭ-strē)

1. What political leaders do when backed into a corner.
2. A plausible, but misleading, argument.
Five years of Harper's sophistry is enough!

Synonyms: a collection of plausible lies.


murd-er-a-bil-i-a* (mûrˈdər-ə-bĭlˈē-ə, -bĭlˈyə)

1. Like memorabalia, but the historical event that the collectibles come from is a murder.
"In the gruesome world of "murderabilia," collectors can buy everything from Timothy McVeigh's death certificate to serial killer wall calendars or a lock of Charles Manson's hair in the shape of a swastika." - ABC 20/20

Synonyms: a clear sign that [insert name of dealer/collector here] is un-dateable.

* People have asked whether some of the words in my blog are real or not and I promise that this, like all of the other words, is a real word. It's creepy, but it's real!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


u-biq-uit-ous (yo͞o-bĭkˈwĭ-təs)

1. Being or seeming to be everywhere at once.
Descriptions of their travels make the monkey and Johnny Cash two of the most ubiquitous characters of our time.

Synonyms: all-over, everywhere, omnipresent, pervasive, ubiquitary, universal, wall-to-wall.

Monday, April 25, 2011


par-a-gon (părˈə-gŏnˌ, -gən)

1. Exemplary example of its kind.
Monkey Beach is a paragon of Canadian fiction.
Gamble Everything For Love is a paragon of love songs.
Chris Wright is a paragon among contemporary painters.
Soon my daughter my daughter will be too. She already makes me proud every single day.

Synonyms: Amanda, best, champion, epitome, exemplar, gem, ideal, jewel, model, peach, perfection, pick, tops, ultimate.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


eas-ter-ling (ēˈstərlĭng)

1. Medieval English silver pennies.
2. An old European term for the Baltic merchants/traders.
Yo, yo! Can you hook me up wid some easterlings? Some easterling is comin' gonna hook me up wid some timber and some ale and dat sucker's gonna wanna get paid, yo!

Synonyms: old stuff to do with money and East-West travel.

1. The common widgeon.
2. The smew or white nun.
The rare birds known as easterlings are as probable an explanation as any as to why ducks are part of Easter.

Synonyms: duck.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


rab-bit-try (răbˈĭtrē)

1. A collection of rabbits and/or the place they are kept.
According to the Uncyclopedia, Easter Island is quite the rabbitry.

Synonyms: a magician's sleeve, rabbit-warren.

Friday, April 22, 2011


egg-corn (ĕgkôrn)

1. A linguistic term for an idiosyncratic substitution of a word or phrase that also bears a phonetic likeness.
Skimp milk is one of my favorite eggcorns.

Synonyms: earhorn.

* If you like eggcorns, I encourage you to check out this forum.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


scru-ple (skro͞oˈpəl)

1. A feeling that keeps you from acting on something. We usually blame this on conscience.
His scruples prevented him from participating in the actual killings, but didn't prevent him from helping her hide the bodies.
2. An excuse you use to get out of doing something you didn't want to do in the first place.
I was going to go to Bingo with Aunt Maggie, but I have a scruple about gambling.
3. A stupid fear about doing something you might actually enjoy.
There's nothing to winning, really. That is, if you happen to be blessed with a keen eye, an agile mind, and no scruples whatsoever. - Alfred Hitchcock

Synonyms: anxiety, caution, compunction, conscience, difficulty, excuse, faltering, hesitancy, hesitation, pause, perplexity, qualms, reconsideration, reluctance, reluctancy, second thought, squeamishness, superego, uneasiness.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


par-a-lan-guage (pr-lnggwj)

1. Nonverbal communication, like a snort, chuckle, guffaw, a hiss or a shush, and tone of voice.
Soon, he only heard paralanguage and similar forms of deeper communication, like the way that Kristi’s head bobbed, as she giggled and flirted with the lovers of her coworkers.*

Synonyms: attitude, body language, intonation, nonphonemic properties of speech, nonverbal communication.

* A quote from my upcoming novel. How's that for pretentious and self-referential?

Monday, April 18, 2011


lo-go-lep-sy (lōˈgō-lĕpˌsē)

1. An obsession with words.
Mine is a textbook case of logolepsy that began the first time I was told to look a word up in the dictionary. My logolepsy then found new hunting ground in church book sales and secondhand shops, where I could look up the same words in different books. Through logolepsy, I learned that the meanings of words develop and change over the years and can be very political. Dictionaries are censored for political correctness and to further national agendas. Does this make me a logoleptic conspiracy theorist?

Synonyms: lexophile, logophile, me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


pe-jor-ate (pĭ-jôrˈāt)

1. Make worse or decrease the value of.
Does painting barbies like zombies pejorate the brainlessness of the doll?
It doesn't seem to pejorate the marketability of such a doll. I wonder if Hasbro has thought of this.

Synonyms: impair, contaminate, blight, collapse, corrode, decline, decompose, defile, degenerate, depreciate disintegrate, dissolve, dwindle, fade, fail, worsen, lessen, molder, pollute, putrefy, putresce, reduce, rot, shrivel, sicken, sink, spoil, suppurate, turn, wane, waste away, weaken, wear away, wither.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


ex-e-crate (ĕkˈsĭ-krātˌ)

1. To feel and/or declare a loathing for, or even curse, a thing.
It's all fine and dandy for everyone I know to execrate Harper, so long as they don't allow him to be elected into office again!

Synonyms: abhor, abominate, accurse, anathematize, censure, condemn, curse, damn, denounce, deplore, despise, detest, elect prime minister/president, excoriate, imprecate, loathe, objurgate, reprehend, reprove, revile, vilify.

Friday, April 15, 2011



1. A person who fakes a smile.
After her last break-up, Lily Allen became an expert eccedentesiast.

Synonyms: talk-show host/ess.

* Is eccedentesiasism a form of self-medication or even a real word?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


bed-lam-ite* (bĕdˈlə-mītˌ)

1. A crazy person.
At this hour of the night, any manner of bedlamite could be roaming the streets.

1. Crazy.
This logic makes Gnarls Barkley a bedlamite, possibly.

Synonyms: absurd, bonkers, cracked, crackers, crazed, crazy, crazy person, daffy, demented, deranged, foolish, fried, giddy, idiot, imbecile, insane, loon, lunatic, mad, maniac, mental case, nut case, nutty, psycho, ridiculous, that girl from work (you know the one), unbalanced, wacky, whack job, whacko.

* In a roundabout way, this word is rooted in Bethlehem. In Hebrew, bethlehem means: house of bread. In medieval London, the Catholic Order of St. Mary of Bethlehem founded such a house, called "Bethlehem," for the poor. The name of this house was gradually shortened in casual speech to bedlam. The house was gradually converted into a hospital for the mentally ill, so that bedlam became synonymous with a house of confusion and a bedlamite would be someone from such a place. Only the English language would link the birthplace of Jesus with insanity and confusion.


wait-ron* (wāˈtrŏnˌ, -trən)

1. A mechanical waiter or waitress.
The visionaries at Hanna-Barbera imagined that one day waitrons would anticipate our every need in dining establishments.

Synonyms: attendant, butler, garcon, host, hostess, maître d', server, would-be actor/artist/dancer/musician/writer.

* If you consider the etymology of waitron, it comes from the same root as the words waiter and waitress, but is combined with the Greek suffix "tron" meaning instrument or machine, thereby dehumanizing the term. Consequently, this term could be considered extremely offensive to those in the fine profession of bringing me delicious food that hasn't been spat on or otherwise fondled. Such offense was not my intention.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


chutz-pah (tsp, ht-)

1. Flaboyant self-confidence that borders on arrogant nerve or effrontery.
It takes a lot of chutzpah to claim you found Allah in your potato!

Synonyms: audacity, backbone, balls, boldness, brass, gall, moxie, nerve, spine.

Monday, April 11, 2011



1. Moving a small child up and down with your knees or arms in a playful way.
2. To pet affectionately.
Dads and mother pandas become the sweetest things in the world with a baby to dandle in their arms.

Synonyms: bounce, bundle, cosset, cuddle, curl up, embrace, enfold, hold, hug, love, nestle, nuzzle, pet, snuggle.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


quix-ot-ic* (kwĭk-sŏtˈĭk)

1. Idealistic and impractical.
Through quixotic flights of fancy, the best of times possess the potential of becoming the worst of times and that is what makes a good story.

Synonyms: chimerical, chivalrous, dreamy, foolish, impetuous, impractical, impulsive, romantic, starry-eyes, unrealistic, utopian, visionary.

* I cannot list this word without also reflecting on the brilliance of one of my favorite books**, which defines the word as follows:
QUIXOTIC, adj. Absurdly chivalric, like Don Quixote. An insight into the beauty and excellence of this incomparable adjective is unhappily denied to him who has the misfortune to know that the gentleman's name is pronounced Ke-ho-tay.
** This is Project Gutenberg's link to the Devil's Dictionary, of course.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


smell-feast* (smel'fst)

1. A sponger with a heightened ability to find and dine at good tables.
Is she really going out with him? He's nothing but a freeloader, a smell-feast!

Synonyms: The character Algernon from the Importance of Being Earnest, bootlicker, deadbeat, freeloader, hanger-on, house cat, idler, leach, sponge, sponger, sycophant, taker, yob.

* I must confess that when I first came upon this term, I thought it an apt description for a variable banquet of odours, not all of them pleasant.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


yak-ka* (yk)

1. Work.
The hard part of having a few days off is going back to yakka.

Synonyms: activity, assignment, art, attempt, calling, commission, commitment, contract, craft, daily grind, drudge, drudgery, do, duty, effort, elbow grease, employment, endeavor, exertion, gig, grind, grindstone, industry, job, line, livelihood, moil, nine-to-five, obligation, office, pains, performance, practice, profession, production, pursuit, push, racket, salt mines, servitude, slogging, slot, specialization, struggle, stint, sweat, swindle, task, thing, trade, travail, trial, trouble, undertaking, vocation.

1. To work.
Saying I yakka all weekend sounds more fun than working.

Synonyms: act, application, apply one's self, article, be gainfully employed, buckle down, carry on, create, composition, deed, dig, do a job, do business, drive, dreg, drudge, earn a living, freelance, function, handicraft, have a job, hold a job, hustle, knuckle down, labour, manage, manufacture, moil, moonlight, nine-to-five, peg away, performance, plug away, ply, punch a clock, pursue, report, scratch, slave, slog, specialize, strain, strive, sweat, take on, toil, try.**

* Australian colloquialism.
** See, doesn't yakka sound more fun than all that?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


é-clat ('clt)

1. Fame and/or success through achievement and/or effort.
As of last night, I am an éclat amateur novelist, having completed my first draft of my first novel!
2. Conspicuous success.
My night was full of éclat celebrations because my best friend got his film in a local film festival and the band we went to see won an M award, whatever that is, but... YAY!
3. The archaic definition of this word is scandalous notoriety.
I think all of the éclat celebrators secretly hope for a little of that in the future... *wink-wink, nudge-nudge*

Synonyms: acclaim, celebrity, distinction, fame, glory, honour, kudos, luster, mark, note, notoriety, preeminence, prestige, prominence, successful, winning!

* I've noticed that I don't listen to a lot of celebratory music, but felt a need to include something, so here's Celebration Guns by the Stars.

Monday, April 4, 2011


con-cu-pi-scent (kn-kyp-snt)

1. Characterized by a strong sexual desire.
Many thinkers agreed with Augustine that concupiscent love was to be distinguished from friendship, and, with respect to heavenly beatitude, use from fruition. - Lorenzo Valla

Synonyms: aroused, carnal, desirous, horny, hot, lascivious, lecherous, libidinous, lustful, oversexed, passionate, promiscuous, randy, salacious, sensual, slutty, turned on.

* That picture on the right is of the Flatiron Building. Seriously, get your mind out of the gutter!