Category Archives: Words I like

These are varoius words that I like. I add them as I come across them in my reading.

Word of the Day: Widdershins

adverb

1. (obsolete) The wrong way.
2. Anticlockwise, counter-clockwise.

Etymology

I came across this while looking at a map of Terry Pratchet’s Discworld.
I also remember watching a show set in medieval times where one jouster ended up with the tip of the lance thrust through his shoulder.  The “doctors” stood around debating  how to extract it, the problem was they couldn’t agree what direction to twist it, “wise or contra-wise” (widdershins).  This is of course before clocks.

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Word of the Day: styptic

adjective: tending to check bleeding by contracting the tissues or blood vessels
synonym: hemostatic

noun: a drug that causes contraction of body tissues and canals
synonym: astringent

Etymology

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Word of the Day: insouciant

adjective

marked by blithe unconcern
synonyms: casual, nonchalant (which of course is itself a funny word, since there is no chalant).

Etymology

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Word of the Day: vertiginous

adjective

having or causing a whirling sensation; liable to falling; “had a dizzy spell”; “a dizzy pinnacle”; “had a headache and felt giddy”; “a giddy precipice”; “feeling woozy from the blow on his head”; “a vertiginous climb up the face of the cliff”

synonyms: dizzy, giddy, woozy

Etymology

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Word of the Day: interminable

adjective

tiresomely long; seemingly without end; “endless debates”; “an endless conversation”; “the wait seemed eternal”; “eternal quarreling”; “an interminable sermon”

synonym: endless, eternal

Etymology

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Word of the Day: massif

noun

a block of the earth’s crust bounded by faults and shifted to form peaks of a mountain range

Etymology

The word massive is also derived from massif.

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Word of the Day: obsequious

Adjective

1: attempting to win favor from influential people by flattery
syn: bootlicking, fawning, sycophantic, toadyish

2: attentive in an ingratiating or servile manner

Interesting etymology and derivative words.

I once had a teacher declare that there were no words in the English language with 3 vowels in a row; a very dubious claim.

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Word of the Day: dearth

noun

1: an acute insufficiency
syn: famine, shortage

2: an insufficient quantity or number
syn: paucity

Example: When the media finds there is a dearth of information, sensationalism and exageration fill the gap.

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Word of the Day: heath

Noun

1: a low evergreen shrub of the family Ericaceae; has small bell-shaped pink or purple flowers

2: a tract of level wasteland; uncultivated land with sandy soil and scrubby vegetation [syn: heathland]

Etymology

Also according to etymology, the words heathen and heather may have come from the word heath.

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Word of the Day: Fiasco

Noun

1: A complete or ridiculous failure, esp. of a musical performance, or of any pretentious undertaking.
2: a sudden and violent collapse

synonym: debacle

Etymology

Not certain where I came across this:

The story here involves the original Italian word fiasco, which means “glass bottle.”
According to one theory, when Venetian glassblowers realized a beautiful piece was flawed, they turned it into an ordinary bottle.
When that happened, a would-be work of art was downgraded to a mere fiasco – which is, according to the theory, how the word came to mean “complete failure.”

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