vocabulary

Egotheism

by Heather

Vest-Pocket Vocabulary

E’gotheism, n. deification of self.

Word in the Wild: A devout practitioner of egotheism, Danica insisted that not only she, but all of her coworkers, should get her birthday off as a paid holiday.

If enough of us got on board with the practice of egotheism, just think of all the paid holidays we could have!

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Chowter

by Heather

Vest-Pocket Vocabulary

Chow’ter, v. to grumble like a child or frog.

Word in the Wild: Amitav chowtered at his roommate after she accidentally put his 2014 tax slips through the shredder.

This fun word is obsolete, but let’s not let that stop us from using it anyway. Its etymology is unknown, though chowter is similar to chowre, and chowre may come from the word jower, and both of those words mean much the same thing as chowter. Enlightening, no?

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Babery

by Heather

Vest-Pocket Vocabulary

Ba’bery, n. playthings for a child.

Word in the Wild: Receiving nothing but blank looks from her nephews after she asked them to clear the living room of their babery and detritus, Celine tried again: “For pity’s sake, clean up your toys and junk!”

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Apocrustic

by Heather

Vest-Pocket Vocabulary

Apocrust’ic, a. having a repelling power; astringent.

Word in the Wild: If you’re planning to make your own dandelion wine, do be sure the blossoms you pick haven’t been sprayed with pesticides, which will result in an unfortunately apocrustic vintage. Oh, and a poisonous one, too.

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Zeticula

by Heather

Vest-Pocket Vocabulary

Zetic’ula, n. a small private room.

Word in the Wild: After sharing a room with her sister for the past 8 years, Annicka needed a place of her own to gather her thoughts and hide her diary. She claimed the front-hall closet for her zeticula and begged her dad to find somewhere else to put the mound of coats she’d left in the hallway.

The provenance of this one has me stumped. This word doesn’t appear in the OED and it isn’t in Merriam-Webster, either. I wonder if it’s at all related to zetetic—after all, it seems as if a zeticula would make good surroundings for a zetetic conducting important research.

Can anyone out there hazard a guess at where this word comes from? I’d love to know.

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Lexical Vexations

This lexical vexation is for Kevin – thanks for all the great Lexical Vexation suggestions, Kevin!

principal 1. n . a person responsible for the administration of a school. 2. adj. most important or influential.

principle 1. n. a rule or standard to which a person should be held.

Words in the Wild: Principal Lockheed considered it his duty to ensure the safety of his students. So, after the principal ballerina incorporated an illicit pyrotechnical display into the show, his principles dictated that he expel her from the school’s production of Romeo and Juliet.

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Writative

by Heather

Vest-Pocket Vocabulary

Writ’ative, a. inclined to write as an author.

Word in the Wild: Vicki used pencils to put up her hair so that she could write at any time whatsoever. She wrote while riding the bus, wrote in her dreams, wrote her own vows, and wrote with the alphabet noodles in her soup. She once tried to go a whole day without writing but inadvertently wrote a journal entry about how hard it was. Vicki is, hands down, the most writative person I’ve ever met.

The OED‘s definition of writative stresses that a writative person doesn’t simply write a lot, but is actually addicted to writing, impelled to put words to paper. I think this is an addiction well worth pursuing.

You can find a complete listing of the Word Blog’s Vest-Pocket Vocabulary entries and learn more about where they come from here.

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Viatic

by Heather

Vest-Pocket Vocabulary

Via’tic, a. relating to travelling.

Word in the Wild: She’d always been powerless to resist the lure of the faraway. First it was leaving the neighbourhood on her own, then it was biking to the next town over, and now it was the viatic call of a investigative journalism. She just couldn’t hold still.

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Ubication

by Heather

Vest-Pocket Vocabulary

Ubica’tion, n. relation as to place; whereness

Word in the Wild: Ilya often had trouble determining his own ubication, which is why three of his birthday gifts turned out to be compasses. The fourth was a GPS.

This word has wandered over to English from the modern Latin ubicātio, meaning in “a determinate place.” The root ubi means “place, position or location,” and if you add to it a que, making it ubīque, it suddenly means “everywhere,” which is how we get the word ubiquitous.


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