I am a word nerd. I love digging around in the English language to find ridiculous words. I don’t get all uppity when new words are added to the dictionary, e.g., “selfie.” If it’s in use, it should be in the dictionary, so people know what it means and how to use it correctly.

However, I do take issue with words being used incorrectly. I really hate when “nonplussed” is used to mean indifferent and “peruse” is used to mean casually flip through, since those words actually mean the opposite of those wrong definitions.

I also dislike it when just plain wrong words are added to the dictionary, e.g., “irregardless.” That’s not a word; it’s an abomination. It is a double negative in word form, or as I call it, a word bomb. I can’t hear the rest of your sentence, because a word bomb has just exploded in my face. Adding the prefix “ir-” cancels out the “regardless” so it actually means that you do care a great deal about a point that is very relevant. The words you’re looking for are either “regardless” or “irrespective,” never both at once.

And don’t even get me started on “begging the question.” That phrase does not mean what you think it means.

Anyway, we’re already off track. Language, and the improper us of it, will do that to me.

“Whore” is one of those words that’s bandied about a lot today, yet it’s rarely used correctly. It has taken on a few new meanings since the days of the Whore Of Babylon, a.k.a. “Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the Earth.” That’s a mouthful of a title.

Originally, it exclusively meant a prostitute, i.e., someone, typically a woman, who sold their body for sex. The whore charges $20 a blow.

The first shift came when it was broadly applied as a pejorative to all women, regardless of profession, as a way to call them promiscuous or indiscriminate. That whore will bang anyone.

Then, it became gender neutral, so that it could apply to men as well. Bob is a whore who will bang anything that moves. Sometimes, it’s even used as a kind of veiled jealousy. He’s such a whore in his $500 shoes.

Lastly, it has two new definitions:

  1. a person who likes or does something excessively
    You’re such a Facebook whore.
  2. a person who compromises their principles for personal gain
    He used to do pro bono, but now he’s just a corporate whore.

Urban Dictionary, the zeitgeist of modern language, lists the following related words for “whore:”
Screen shot 2015-02-02 at 11.16.30 AMBased on the original definition, only a few of those are correct: “hoe,” “ho,” “prostitute,” “hooker,” and I’ll add another, “skeezer.”

According to that, calling someone a “slut” or “bitch” is now comparable to calling someone a “whore” (or “hoe”), when they are really different things. “Whore” is a profession; whereas a “slut” (or “tramp” or “skank”) is a person who is seemingly promiscuous. Most women who are called whores aren’t actually whores at all, i.e., they do not charge for sex.

I was a whore at one point, in the original, biblical sense of the word. I never took offense to the word, since it was true. I took money (or drugs) in exchange for sex. It was a long, long time ago, and honestly, nowadays, I find it difficult to believe that I was once a literal crack whore. It could be because, at the time, I had a profound drug addiction, so I wasn’t exactly in my right mind, nor was I going around documenting my life. I didn’t have a whore blog, because blogs didn’t exist then, but seriously, whoreblog.com is a great idea.

The memories I do have are fuzzy at best. They’re the recollections of someone high as balls on crack cocaine. I wish I could remember more. I wish I could regale you with more stories, since I haven’t shared much at all about that time period other than how I quit, but everything is a jumble. It’s all surrounded by a cloudy haze of all the drugs I could get my grubby hands on; the kind of excessive, Tony Montana drug use that almost killed me when I overdosed.


Drug-addicted whores are a self-defeating, vicious circle of depravity. You need drugs, so you prostitute, but in order to get through the awful experience of prostitution, you need more drugs. It gets to the point where you lose everything, even your sense of self, but you’re too fucked up to care, which is what got you into the mess in the first place–not wanting to care. I almost died a homeless drug addict whore. I almost died at the very bottom of my life. I couldn’t have sunk much lower, except to die.

Fortunately, I didn’t die then. That would have been a pathetic end. I would have been incredibly pissed off at myself forever for dying in circumstances like that. But, I didn’t. I haven’t died permanently yet (just a few times temporarily). Instead, I got clean. I stopped being a whore.

I was lucky that I was able to step away from that life. However, I didn’t live in the middle of a war zone. I didn’t have kids to feed. I don’t live in a country where women have no rights to eduction or gainful employment. I can read and write. I didn’t have a pimp who would kill me if I tried to leave. I had someone to call.

Most whores don’t have the options I had. Many are still down there, not caring if they live or die, just as long as they get their next fix. I used to be one of them.

So, don’t call someone a “whore,” because you think they’re promiscuous. Besides the fact that people are promiscuous for a whole hosts of reasons and none of them good, you’re denigrating all whores and all women when you misuse the word. If you must, call them a “slut” or a “tramp” or a “slag” instead, but it would be really nice if we could stop slut shaming altogether. It would be nice if, instead of shaming women for their choices, we could try a little understanding, or hell, maybe even offer some help.

The next time you call someone a “whore,” think about what that word–that concept–really means. Think about what it would be like if you had to sell yourself for money. You, on a street corner, willing to go with a stranger to do terrible things for money with no one to back you up. Think about all the collective crap that irrevocably led to being on the street and the real whores who have no options; the ones who were abused and neglected so seriously in their formative years, that selling themselves for money seems like a reasonable thing to do.

Nobody chooses to be a whore; it’s just happens. Sometimes, we can justify it to ourselves and others to make it not seem so bad, but no one ever wants to be a whore. It’s just one of the many terrible destinations life can take us if we’re very unlucky. We all do what we need to do to get by in this world. Besides, there wouldn’t be whores at all if there wasn’t a demand for them.

Also, please, consider donating to Children Of The Night who rescues America’s children from prostitution, or an organization like it in your community. Not all of us have a choice.

Awesome Arcane Words Part 4


This post is part of a series where I share words that shouldn’t have gone extinct. Whenever I run across a word that no one has heard since your grandpappy was a pup, I write it down and eventually, I share them with you in list form. Some of these words don’t even have synonyms.




  1. pathological indecisiveness
    Stanley’s abulomania makes him the worst manager ever.

Synonyms: none

Alternate forms: aboulomania

Etymology: from Latin abulo “without will,” mania “madness”




  1. bearded; bearing a beard; hairy
    Barbigerous hipsters have ruined the beard for everyone.

Synonyms: bearded.

Etymology: Latin barba “beard”




  1. divination by opening a book at random
    The swindler pretended to tell the future using bibliomancy and Ladies Home Journal.

Synonyms: none

Etymology: biblio- Latin from Ancient Greek βιβλίον biblíon, “small book,” mancy Ancient Greek μαντεία manteía “divination”



  1. to laugh loudly or inappropriately
    Everyone in class turned to find out who cachinnated.

Synonyms: cackle, guffaw

Derivatives:  noun: cachinnation ; noun: cachinnator ; adjective: cachinnatory

Etymology: 1815-25; Latin cachinnātus, past participle of cachinnāre “to laugh aloud, laugh immoderately”



  1. a warning cry
  2. (obsolete) Used by servants in medieval Scotland to warn passers-by of waste about to be thrown from a window into the street below. The phrase was still in use as late the 1930s and ’40s, when many people had no indoor toilets.

Synonyms: none

Etymology: English corruption of French garde à l’eau, translated means “beware of the water”




  1. To finish; to put an end to; to kill
    Are you going to napoo those fries?


  1. finished, worn out, dead
    My favorite shoes are napoo.

Synonyms: end, finish, kill, terminate, cease, etc.

Etymology: World War I British and ANZAC army slang, probably a corruption of French il n′y a plus meaning “there is no more”




  1. a pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather
  2. the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil
    Other than the petrichor, you’d never know that it rained this morning.

Synonyms: none

Etymology:  Greek, petra, “stone,” ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.




  1. a scent that lingers in the air after the source is removed; typically of perfume
    Sylvia had gone, but her sillage was a painful reminder.

Synonyms: none

Etymology: French, literally “wake, trail”



noun (pejorative)

  1. an idle, ragged person
    Stanley didn’t get the job because he looked like a ragabash.

Synonyms: riffraff, rabble, scum, lowlife

Alternate forms: ragabrash

Etymology: unknown, probably a contraction of ragged and brash.



noun (pejorative)

  1. feeble or worthless person or animal
  2. runt of the litter
    Don’t bother feeding that wallydrag.

Synonyms: runt, reckling

Alternate forms: walligrag, wallydrieg

Etymology: Scottish



  1. to bark; yelp
  2. to bark like a snarling dog
    Sylvia yaffed when Stanley honked her behind.

Synonyms: yelp, yip, howl, bark, bay

etymology: 1600-10; perhaps blend of dialect waff, bark and yap or yawp

More awesome arcaneness:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Words Without Vowels

A xyst.

I think we all know that I’m a fan of words, a word nerd, if you will. A lexicon loser, grammar geek, a nomenclature nimrod, a diction dork… you get the idea.

I’m also of Finnish descent. Along with green eyes, fair complexion, and a ski-slope slip of a nose, that means I was blessed with a last name that is 57% vowels. Yes, there are more vowels in my last name than consonants. Thanks, Finland.

Because I’m saddled with so many vowels on a daily basis, I like words without them, so I’m giving a nod to English language words without any vowels at all. I’ve recently used a few words on this list and thought I’d share them. Some of them you probably know and use, too.

If you discount Y as a vowel, there are a lot of words without vowels–by, sky, dry, crypt, hymn, rhythm, etc.–but I’m going to disregard the common words and go for the ones a lot of people don’t know and/or my favorites.

Some of them are Welsh since Wales is the anti-Finland as far as vowels go.




  1. geology a half-open steep-sided hollow at the head of a valley or on a mountainside, formed by glacial erosion.
  1. poetic/literary a ring, circlet, or circle.

ORIGIN Welsh; mid 19th cent.: related to combe, occurring in charters in the names of places in southern England, many of which survive; of Celtic origin. The current general use dates from the late 16th cent.



  1. a crowd; a large number of things gathered or considered together.
  2. an ancient stringed instrument of Celtic origin similar to the cithara but bowed in later types

ORIGIN Welsh; 1830-40: cognate with Irish cruit; harp, lyre




  1. used typically to express thoughtful absorption, hesitation, doubt, or perplexity.

ORIGIN unknown


  1. abbreviation for hectometer, a metric unit of length equal to one hundred meters.

ORIGIN France; 1800-10; hectomètre




  1. mathematics denoting an unspecified member of a series of numbers or enumerated items
  2. in general use denoting an unspecified item or instance in a series, typically the last or latest in a long series

ORIGIN mathematics; 1850-55; N (symbol for a number) + -th




  1. a very small person, animal, or thing
  2. derogatory an insignificant person, esp. one who is deficient in a particular respect


  1. (of a person or thing) very small
  2. used in names of animals and plants that are much smaller than more typical kinds

ORIGIN late Middle English (originally in the plural, denoting a mythological race of small people): via Latin from Greek pugmaios ‘dwarf,’ from pugmē ‘the length measured from elbow to knuckles.’




  1. Christian Church the container in which the consecrated bread of the Eucharist is kept.
  1. in the UK a box at the Royal Mint in which specimen gold and silver coins are deposited to be tested annually at the trial of the pyx.

ORIGIN Latin: pyxis, transliteration of Greek: πυξίς, box-wood receptacle, from πυξος, box-tree



verb ( skries, skried) [ intrans. ]

  1. foretell the future using a crystal ball or other reflective object or surface.

DERIVATIVES scryer; noun

ORIGIN early 16th cent.: shortening of descry.



also stymie

verb  ( -mies , -mied , -mying or -mieing ) [ trans. ]

  1. informal prevent or hinder the progress of

ORIGIN mid 19th cent.; originally a golfing term, denoting a situation on the green where a ball obstructs the shot of another player.




  1. an imaginary spirit of the air.
  2. a slender woman or girl.
  3. Aglaiocercus kingi; a mainly dark green and blue hummingbird, the male of which has a long forked tail.
Long-tailed Sylph (Aglaiocercus kingi) (glenbartley.com)

ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from modern Latin sylphes, sylphi and the German plural sylphen, perhaps based on Latin sylvestris ‘of the woods’ + nympha ‘nymph.’



noun ( pl. -gies)

  1. astronomy a conjunction or opposition, esp. of the moon with the sun
  2. poetry the combination of two metrical feet into a single unit
  3. in general use a pair of connected or corresponding things

ORIGIN early 17th cent.: via late Latin from Greek suzugia, from suzugos ‘yoked, paired,’ from sun- ‘with, together’ + the stem of zeugnunai ‘to yoke.’

tsk tsk

|tisk tisk|


  1. expressing disapproval or annoyance


  1. to tsk tsk; make such an exclamation.

ORIGIN 1940s: imitative.



also wynn, wen


  1. a boil or other swelling or growth on the skin, esp. a sebaceous cyst
  2. archaic an outstandingly large or overcrowded city
  3. a runic letter, used in Old and Middle English, later replaced by W

ORIGIN Old English wen(n), literally joy, so named because it is the first letter of this word; Low German wehne ‘tumor, wart.’




  1. in ancient Greek and Roman architecture a long covered portico, as a promenade, especially one used in ancient Greece for athletics
  2. in an ancient Roman villa a garden walk planted with trees
A xyst. (wikipedia)
A xyst.

ORIGIN 1655-65; Latin xystus garden terrace, shaded walk; Greek xystós a covered colonnade

Well, there you have it; more fodder for your Scrabble or Words With Friends games, although good luck trying to spell syzygy with a standard Scrabble set.

20 Weird Things We Say And Why Part 2

The Cardsharps by Caravaggio, c. 1594

I’m fascinated by language. Do you have any idea what you’re actually saying when you use idioms? Well, neither does anyone else. Sometimes, I catch myself using these weird but common phrases, and I wonder what the hell I’m on or on about. What does that even mean? A long time ago, I gave you a list of 20 weird idioms and why we say them. Here are twenty more.

An arm and a leg

Definition: costing an exorbitant amount of money.

Example: Raising a baby tiger would cost an arm and a leg.

Origin: No one knows exactly, but it’s likely that the expression derived from two earlier phrases: ‘I would give my right arm for…’ and ‘Even if it takes a leg’, which were both coined in the 19th century.

Armed to the teeth

Definition: Possessing an abundance, or overabundance of weaponry.

Example: Russia and the US were armed to the teeth during the cold war.

Origin: Pirates! This is a pirate phrase originating in Jamaica in the 1600s. Because they only had single shot black powder firearms that took a while to reload, pirates would carry many weapons at once, sometimes holding a knife between their teeth.

The bee’s knees

Definition: A nonsense term to denote excellence.

Example: Baby tigers are the bee’s knees.

Origin: In the 18th century, the phrase meant something exceedingly tiny, but then, as phrases do, it changed its meaning in early 20th century American to just a nonsense expression like others of the era: the snake’s hips, the kipper’s knickers, the cat’s pajamas or the monkey’s eyebrows.

Break a leg

Definition: Wishing someone good luck.

Example: Break a leg in your performance tonight.

Origin: Sprites! Actually, there are many possible origins for this one, but I prefer this explanation: People used to believe in mischievous spirits or ghosts called sprites who enjoyed wreaking havoc and causing trouble. The sprites were reputed to make the opposite of your wishes happen, so telling someone to “break a leg” was the first use of reverse psychology.

Cardsharp, cardshark

Definition: Someone adept at cards; someone who uses skill or deception to win at cards.

Example: Don’t play poker with Harry since he’s a cardsharp.

Origin: Cardsharp and cardshark mean essentially the same thing, but they come from two earlier words: ‘sharping’ (swindling or cheating – circa 1692) and ‘sharking’ (cheating, stealing or sponging – circa 1608), though they were in use before that as this painting from 1595 shows, though it’s not likely that Caravaggio would have titled his paintings in English, so who knows:

The Cardsharps by Caravaggio, c. 1594 (wikipedia.org)
The Cardsharps by Caravaggio, c. 1595

Cold turkey

Definition: To quit something abruptly and completely.

Example: I quit smoking cold turkey.

Origin: Turkeys! The expression comes from the goose bumps and sickly pallor someone going through withdrawal experiences, which makes you somewhat resemble a plucked, cold turkey.

The crapper

Definition: a toilet.

Example: Our marriage went down the crapper.

Origin: This guy:

Thomas Crapper
Thomas Crapper

Contrary to popular belief, Thomas Crapper did not invent the flush toilet, but he did increase the popularity of it and he also invented some important toilet related things.

Face the music

Definition: To be confronted with the unpleasant consequences of one’s actions.

Example: I’ll have to face the music tomorrow for all this drinking tonight.

Origin: British military. When someone was court marshaled, there would be a military drum squad playing. The term “drummed out of the military” also came from this practice.

Jump on the bandwagon

Definition: To join others in doing or supporting something fashionable or likely to be successful.

Example: He says he’s into Taylor Swift, but he’s just jumping on the bandwagon.

Origin: Old-timey political campaigns used to try to gain supporters with a small parade. The popular ones had bands. Jumping on the bandwagon was essentially providing support for the popular candidate.

Knock on wood

Definition: Superstitious practice of knocking on wood after something is said so that it does or doesn’t come true.

Example: Knock on wood that I get the job.

Origin: Jesus! Although the origin is uncertain, one idea is that it originated in the middle ages when pieces of the Holy Rood or Cross on which Jesus was crucified were circulated. To touch one of these was supposed to bring good luck hence touch wood for good luck.

Long in the tooth

Definition: Getting old.

Example: You’re getting a bit long in the tooth for short pants.

Origin: Horses’ gums recede as they age, so the older the horse, the more of their teeth you can see.

Once in a blue moon

Definition: not very often; rarely.

Example: The Detroit Lions win once in a blue moon.

Origin: The Farmer’s Almanac. Two full moons in the same month are extremely rare, but they do happen. The second full moon in a month was called a blue moon, because the Farmer’s Almanac used to list the date of the first moon in red text, and the second moon in blue.

One red cent

Definition: The smallest currency symbolically used to convey emphatically nothing.

Example: I wouldn’t pay even one red cent for a Taylor Swift song.

Origin: Racism! The red part refers not only to the color of copper pennies, but also to the Indian Head cent minted from 1859 to 1909.


Starting in the 17th century, Native American Indians were called redskins. Originally, the term was not pejorative since it referred not to skin color, but to the Algonquian peoples use of vermilion face and body paint. However, between the 17th and 19th centuries, it went from being a neutral descriptive term to racist (and it still is re: Washington Redskins).

Pot calling the kettle black

Definition: A hypocritical admonition.

Example: Telling him to stop spending money on My Little Pony is the pot calling the kettle black.

Origin: From Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

Rings a bell

Definition: Sounds familiar.

Example: Her name rings a bell, but I can’t place it.

Origin: Back before the internet, towns used to ring bells to mark the hour or to mark the start of school, church or any other important event. Someone would literally ring a bell as a reminder.

Room to swing a cat

Definition: If there’s no room to swing a cat, it’s a confined space.

Example: There’s no room to swing a cat in this house.

Origin: Pirates! Alright, not exclusively pirates, but sailors at any rate. Animal lovers will be happy to know that this phrase has nothing at all to do with swinging kitty cats helicopter style. It’s actually about whips or cat o’ nine tails as they were called. This type of whip, with 9 long strands of leather, was used to discipline sailors on old sailing ships. The floggings were done on deck where there was room to swing a whip.


Sleep tight

Definition: Sleep well.

Example: Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite!

Origin: Before box springs were invented, old bed frames used ropes pulled tightly between the frame rails to support a mattress. They would loosen after a while causing you to sleep poorly.

Under the weather

Definition: Not feeling well.

Example: I can’t come to work because I’m a little under the weather today.

Origin: Most long distance travel was done by boat. if you got seasick, you went down to the ship’s hold. The lower you are in the ship, the less you feel the movement.

Upper hand

Definition: Control of a situation over another.

Example: We need to gain the upper hand to have any chance of winning this game.

Origin: Baseball. It used to be decided who went first by one player putting their hand at the bottom of a baseball bat. The opposing team’s player would put theirs directly above it. The two players would repeat this process back and forth until they ran out of bat. Whichever player’s hand was highest on the bat went first.

White elephant

Definition: An unwanted gift.

Example: What are we going to do with all these white elephant wedding gifts?

Origin: Burma! Albino elephants were considered sacred. If you didn’t like someone or wanted to see them fail, you gave them a white elephant. Though considered an honor, no one wanted the expense of keeping a useless, sacred animal.

Awesome Arcane Words Part 3


I love the English language. It is so old that there are words that haven’t been uttered in centuries. It’s impossible to know the entire language, which is what makes it fun. Every time I run across a random word that no one has heard since your grandpappy was a pup, I write it down and eventually, I share them with you.

A while ago, I gave you a list and another list of words that were so awesome they shouldn’t have gone extinct, but they did. Some of these don’t even have synonyms.




  1. lack of self-control; excess; intemperance
    The judge’s acrasia showed in her rants at younger lawyers.

Synonyms: acrasy, incontinence.

Derivatives: adjective acrasial, comparative more acrasial, superlative most acrasial

Etymology: from Ancient Greek ἀκρασία (akrasía) (lacking command (over oneself))




  1. Pompous, high sounding, or pretentious in speech
    I simply cannot stand your altiloquent bloviation anymore.

Synonyms: hifalutin, bombastic, vainglorious, vaunting.

Derivatives: noun altiloquence, altiloquy

Etymology: Latin altus (adverb alte) high + loquens, p. pr. of loqui to speak



  1. A novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character.
  2. A novel tracing the spiritual, moral, psychological, or social development and growth of the main character, usually from childhood to maturity.
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a bildungsroman.
Synonyms: none
Etymology: German: Bildung, formation (from Middle High German bildunge, from Old High German bildunga, from bilidōn, to shape, from bilōdi, form, shape) + Roman, novel.



  1. A traitor.
    That brutus narced to my boss that I was writing a post instead of working.

Synonyms: Benedict Arnold, Judas, backstabber, two-timer, traitor.


  1. heavy, unwieldy
    Help me carry this brutus sofa, please.
  2. dull, stupid, insensible, unreasonable, irrational
    My coworker is so brutus during deadline week.

Synonyms: gravis, burdensome, cumbersome, unmanageable.

Etymology: An Oscan loanword, from Proto-Indo-European. Cognate with Ancient Greek βαρύς (barús), Persian گران (gerân) and Sanskrit गुरु (gurú).




Plural catachreses

  1. A misuse of a word; an application of a term to something which it does not properly denote.
    Stanley was sick of Sylvia’s constant catachreses and wished she would learn to speak English.
  2. (rhetoric) A misapplication or overextension of figurative or analogical description; a wrongly-applied metaphor or trope.
    The sky is the limit is an outdated catachresis since we can leave the earth’s atmosphere now.

Synonyms: (misuse of a word): misnomer, malapropism; ( bad metaphor or trope): abusio

Alternate forms: catechresis (17 th century, obsolete, now a misspelling), katachresis (17 th century)

Derivatives: adjective catachrestic, adjective catachrestical, adverb catachrestically

Etymology: From Latin catachrēsis, from Ancient Greek κατάχρησις (katákhrēsis, misuse (of a word)), from καταχρῆσθαι (katakhrêsthai, to misuse), from κατά (katá, pervertedly) + χρῆσθαι (khrêsthai, to use).


  1. scanty; meager; small; slender
    I can’t afford new shoes on my exiguous income.

Synonyms: meager, skimpy, insubstantial, inadequate, scarce.

Derivatives: adverb exiguously, noun exiguousness

Etymology: 1645-55; From Latin exiguus scanty in measure or number, small, equivalent to exig (ere) + -uus deverbal adj. suffix


  1. fleeting; transitory
    Kim Kardashian has a fugacious claim on the public’s attention.
  2. Botany: falling or fading early.

Synonyms: brief, ephemeral, fleeting.

Derivatives: adverb fugaciously, noun fugaciousness

Etymology: 1625-35; From Latin fugāci (stem of fugāx apt to flee, fleet, derivative of fugere to flee + -ous


  1. a printed punctuation mark (‽), available only in some typefaces, designed to combine the question mark (?) and the exclamation point (!), indicating a mixture of query and interjection, as after a rhetorical question.
    He smacked an interrobang at the end of his snarky sentence. Bitches love interrobangs.
Synonyms: none.
Alternate forms: interabang.




  1. protest strongly or vehemently
    The left-handed girl inveighed against a right-handed world.

Synonyms: rail, remonstrate, vituperate, castigate, reproach, censure, Antonym: uninveigh

Derivatives: noun inveigher, adjective inveighing

 Etymology: 1480-90; From Latin invehī to attack with words, equivalent to in- in-2+ vehī passive infinitive of vehere to ride, drive, sail


[kwing-kuhngks, kwin-]

Plural quincunxes


  1. an arrangement of five objects, as trees, in a square or rectangle, one at each corner and one in the middle.
    Stanley rolled the die and waited to see the quincunx.
  2. Botany. an overlapping arrangement of five petals or leaves, in which two are interior, two are exterior, and one is partly interior and partly exterior.
  3. A Roman coin worth five twelfths of an as, the Roman standard bronze coin, and marked with a quincunx of spots.

Synonyms: none.

Etymology: 1640-50; From Latin: five twelfths ( quinc-, variant of quīnquequinque– + uncia twelfth




  1. diligent in application or attention; persevering; assiduous.
  2. persistently or carefully maintained:
    Stanley plied sedulous flattery on his boss.

Synonyms: diligent, hard-working, persevering; Antonym: unsedulous

Derivatives: adverb sedulously, noun sedulousness

Etymology: 1530-40; From Latin sēdulus, adj. derivative of the phrase sē dolō diligently, literally, without guile

More exciting words:

Part 4

Awesome Arcane Words Part 2


A while ago, I gave you a vocabulary list of English words that haven’t been used in a long time. Well, it’s time we go rummaging around in the lexicon cellar for some more words that have gone extinct that really shouldn’t have. Some of them don’t even have exact synonyms.




  1. One who journeys through the air.
    Charles Lindberg was the first airgonaut to fly from New York to Paris.

Synonyms: pilot.




  1. Extreme whiteness.
    Phillip pulled over to the side of the road because he couldn’t take the albedineity of a Canadian winter anymore.

Synonyms: sort of like snow blind, but not quite.




  1. Loving; kind; charitable.
    Rarasaur is amorevolous.

Synonyms: humanitarian, altruistic, benevolent, munificent.




  1. Go away; leave with haste.
    “Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone!” William Shakespeare, King John.

Synonyms: Frame off, bugger off, go.




  1. Round; pot-bellied.
    What an adorable ballow pig.

Synonyms: bulbous, spherical, rotund.


  1. Cudgel, club.
    “Nay, come not near th’ old man or try whether your costard or my ballow be the harder.” William Shakespeare, King Lear.

Synonyms: truncheon, bludgeon, baton, blackjack, nightstick.




  1. (of a task or undertaking) ineffectual; useless.
    Organizing these files by date is bootless since the company is closing anyway.

Synonyms: pointless, futile, fruitless.



Intransitive verb

  1. Talk confidentially or conspiratorially.
    He pulled her away from the dinner party to collogue.

Synonyms: conspire, plot, scheme, collude.




  1. To gather together in a cluster or group.
    Before he died, he constellated his closest relatives.

Synonyms: gather, assemble, collect.




  1. Very fat, grossly overweight, obscenely obese.
    He was so crassulent that they couldn’t get him out of the house.

Synonyms: similar to corpulent and obese, but even fatter. More like morbidly obese.




  1. A minor or incompetent critic.
    He paid no mind to her objections as she was a criticaster.

Synonyms: none.



Noun: a portmanteau of dandy and prat.

  1. a person of small or childish mind; a silly, finicky, or puerile person.
    My office is full of ultracrepidarian dandiprats.
  2. A diminutive person; a dwarf, pygmy, or midget.
    Even for a child, he’s a dandiprat.

Synonyms: Too many to list. Read this post.




  1. To enjoy oneself unrestrainedly; frolic.
    The dandiprats disported while the boss was out of the office.


  1. Diversion from work or serious matters; recreation or amusement.
    The dandiprats met in the breakroom for disport whenever they could.

Synonyms: misbehave, gambol, cavort. Antonym: comport



Noun; French, from Middle French fait-nient, literally, does nothing

  1. An irresponsible idler; an idle or ineffective person.
    My office is full of fainéants.

Synonyms: loafer, idler.




  1. A silly or flirtatious young woman.
    Pop culture is nothing but fizgigs these days.
  2. A firework of damp powder that fizzes or hisses.
    The display was a fizgig.

Synonyms: none.




  1. A jumble or confused medley of things.
    Fish of Gold is a gallimaufry of posts.

Synonyms: jumble, hodgepodge, mishmash.




  1. To run away from a debt.
    That rapscallion levanted in the middle of the night.
 Synonyms: none.




  1. Money, especially when gained dishonestly.
    The political pelf should get the road built.

Synonyms: bribe, loot, kickback, payoff.




  1. A spiritless coward.
    Those poltroons in government get nothing done.

Synonyms: defeatist, pushover, chicken, sissy, craven, pusillanimous pussy.




  1.  An inquisitive, gossipy person; a person who seeks to know all the latest news or gossip.
    The quidnunc kept pestering me for information.

Synonyms: gossip, busybody.




  1. Involving or causing much bloodshed.
    The Iraq war was sanguinary for no reason.

Synonyms: bloody, barbaric, brutal, savage.




  1. A person who opines on subjects of which one has only superficial knowledge.
    That sciolist doesn’t know a thing about brain surgery.

Synonyms: similar to one definition of ultracrepidarian.




  1.  A lazy person who stays in bed late.
    That slugabed slept in until noon.

Synonyms: none.




  1. A miser, a mean avaricious person.
    My boss refused to give me a raise because he’s a snudge.

Synonyms: scrooge, miser, skinflint.


  1.  To stride about with purpose, when in fact, you are doing nothing.
    Whenever the boss came in, my coworkers immediately started snudging.

Synonyms: none.




  1. An expression of surprise or indignation.
    He shouted “Zounds!” when he was stabbed.

Synonyms: Zoinks! Egads!

More exciting words:

Part 3

Like Um: Conversational Ice Picks

Image from voxy.com.

I think I’m officially old now. I’ve discovered that, for the most part, I’m not overly fond of 20-somethings and under.

Disclaimer time. This post is probably going to come off sounding like generalized generation bashing, but I assure you that’s not my intent; I hate all generations equally. Also, I’m sure I was an annoying 20-something, too, so in essence, I hate myself. At least, I hate my former self, because you know what? Kids these days are annoying. By kids, I mean anyone who is young enough to be drafted (under 25).

To all you 20-somethings out there who are prepared to be offended, I don’t mean you, because you obviously have excellent taste in blogs and I’m sure this post doesn’t apply to you in any way. Cheers! Anyone who reads FOG is clearly of discerning character and not normal. You can be offended all you want, but this post is not generalized generation bashing because I have examples!

Example 1

This week, just like last time I was on jury duty, I was subjected to another set of blathering 20-somethings at lunch. It was a rather warm day and there wasn’t much shade to be had, so those of us not inclined to getting skin cancer were all huddled together under the trees. I’m not a fan of huddling, especially with total strangers, but I’m also not a fan of skin cancer, having had it twice, so huddle I did.

I was sitting next to a woman talking on the phone with a contractor doing something to her house when two 20-something females sidled up beside us. They were dressed in court-appropriate suits, yet chose to sit on the grass. Good on them. Unfortunately, the shaded grass happened to be all up in my metaphorical shit, so I had no choice but to eavesdrop on their conversation since I had forgotten to bring headphones with me.

I generally feel it’s alright to eavesdrop when it’s crystal clear to the eavesdroppee that the eavesdropper has no other choice. We were in public and they were sitting within easy punching distance. Plus, I was there first. It’s not creepy to eavesdrop when you were there first. I’d really rather have not heard their conversation anyway, since within about five minutes, I had to get up and move before I made use of the proximal punching distance.

Anyway, these two 20-something girls started off with a conversation about what kind of law they would like to pursue, making it evident that they were still in lawyer school and weren’t lawyers yet, but doing some sort of internship at the court. One said she’d like to do civil, while the other argued in favor of corporate law.

Then they started talking about boys. Ugh. This is about the time when I felt the need to move. Peppered throughout their ridiculous legato conversation was a staggering number of “like” and “um,” making them seem like total idiots. These women would one day be full-fledged legal professionals, maybe. They would both be responsible for some sort of lawyering, yet they couldn’t get through a single sentence without “like” and “um.” Granted, neither of them was going into criminal law so they weren’t responsible for anyone’s life, but I still found that concept scary as hell.

Example 2

Yesterday, I went out to lunch with a friend. We sat, ordered and sipped delicious coffee beverages waiting for our food to arrive, when right next to us, they seated six 20-something males. They talked about nothing but video games the whole time. Unfortunately, I know what they were talking about because there were six of them and they kept talking over each other making it damn near impossible to hear what my friend was saying.

They also used “like” and “um” in every damn sentence, sometimes multiple times. One of them would start talking, e.g. “The new Wii version of Hello Kitty in Space is like so rad it’s um like farting rainbows.” And before that sentence was finished, another of them would interrupt with, “No way, dude! Space Unicorns on Ice is like a way more um realistic simulation of like what it’s like to like ice skate if you’re um a unicorn like in space.”

I prefer Hello Kitty Pirates myself.
I prefer Hello Kitty Pirates myself. The ice skating simulation is rad.

And so it went, until we were done with our now ruined meal and could mercifully leave earshot. One thing I noticed about them was how quickly they were all speaking. Perhaps it’s just because there were six of them talking over each other, but they were talking as fast as I type, which is pretty darn fast.

My friend and I eye rolled and discussed how ridiculous they were. Their conversation harkened back to the jury duty 20-somethings and I realized that the girls were talking excessively fast as well. I guess when it’s more important that you get words out of your mouth right now than paying attention to the quality of those words, you end up with a lot of “like” and “um.”

And then I said to my friend that it seems to me that it’s sort of a generational thing. Never once have I heard a retirement age couple out on the town talking about their retirement plans while employing excessive “like” and “um.” It seems to be more of an age thing, which I guess makes me an ageist.

I don’t recall, but perhaps when I was 20-something, I spat words out of my mouth so fast that I had no idea what they were, too. Perhaps I was a “like” and “um” enthusiast myself. It’s entirely possible. In any event, nowadays, I rarely use “like” outside of similes and Facebook, and “um” is reserved for when I’m intentionally calling attention to something ridiculous, e.g. this picture:


I’ve never been a fan of “like” and “um.” The strange thing is that they usually go together. If someone says “like,” odds are rather good that, before the sentence is over, there will be an “um,” or vice versa.  These sentence fillers generally mean that the person speaking is formulating their words as they go instead of thinking before they speak. If you actually think before speaking, there’s really no need to pause in the middle to come up with the rest of it, and therefore you don’t really need conversation placeholders.

The worst part of “like” and “um” is that, once you notice it, that’s all you hear. It’s kind of like having an old-fashioned, non-digital clock on the wall. You can go days, hours or months without noticing the second hand ticking around its infinite circle, but once you hear it, that’s all you notice like a tiny ice pick jammed in the ear every second or so. The more you try not to notice the little ice picks in your ear, the more you do. Enough noticing can drive you mad in a Chinese water torture sort of way.

“Like” and “um” are conversational ice picks to me. They are the typo in the middle of a published book. They are the fart in the middle of a lecture. Overuse of “like” and “um” completely takes me out of your sentence and I miss the point of your words. I don’t hear the meat of your sentence, all I notice is the filler.

I apologize to any 20-somethings or “like” and “um” enthusiasts this may have offended, but really, people, is thinking before dribbling words out of your mouth such an awful concept? Conservation is a beautiful thing.

Family Inheritance

You got any honey to go with these biscuits?
Michigan black bear from www.oswaldsbearranch.com

My family is not rich. We don’t own any property besides the hunting cabin on a lake, which is now my parents’ home, that my great grandfather built in the woods of northern Michigan. My parents mortgaged it to turn it from an uninsulated hunting cabin into a home. When my parents die, I will inherit the property and most likely a lot of debt associated with it, so let’s hope they live forever.

The cottage was originally used for hunting, drinking, gambling and general cavorting by my male relatives. It didn’t have a door when it was built, just a heavy tarp. One night, a black bear came in and made himself at home. My grandfather let off a warning shot inside the house. The bear looked him right in the eye as if he had just farted, not fired a shotgun, and continued what he was doing. Over the course of several minutes, which to my grandfather, I’m sure felt like an eternity, after he had taken whatever he wanted from the kitchen, the bear nonchalantly made his exit. A door was installed the next day. The shot from the shotgun was left in the wall as an admonition until my parents added insulation to the place.

You got any honey to go with these biscuits? Michigan black bear from www.oswaldsbearranch.com
You got any honey to go with these biscuits?
Michigan black bear from oswaldsbearranch.com

I won’t inherit much of value when my parents die. There will be no cash settlement, but what resides in that cottage are priceless family heirlooms that don’t mean as much to anyone else. Some of them I already have, like my grandfather’s pocket watch, but most of my inheritance comes in the form of stories and some of it comes in the weird things I say without even realizing it.

Today, I’m going to talk about some of the things I say that are second nature to me, but always fetch strange looks from those outside of my family.

Have you ever wondered why you use the phrases you do? Why do you use them and where did they come from? I wonder all the time. I have a ton of Yiddish in my vocabulary, even though I’m goy. As it turns out, my great-great grandmother was Jewish, which means I’m Jewish, too. Once I found that out, all the Yiddish used in my family made perfect sense. I inherited most of my strange idioms from my grandmother. She had a way with words.

Queer as Patty’s pig

That was one of my grandmother’s favorite sayings. She didn’t mean queer as in sexual orientation, but in the odd sense. Somewhere, sometime in history, there was someone named Patty who had a very strange pig and I find myself still talking about that pig from time to time, because it’s one of the phrases I grew up hearing. She also used “odd duck” a lot that has the same meaning. Maybe the duck was Patty’s, too.


A yo-yo in my family is not two attached circular discs with a string, like this:

I had this exact yo-yo as a kid. Image from www.thestrong.org
Image from thestrong.org

But this:

Image from toolguy.com
Image from toolguy.com

A yo-yo is a measuring tape. Everyone in my family, including my uncle and his family, calls that a yo-yo. I’m not sure why that is honestly. It led to some confusion as a kid since I had the exact yellow Duncan yo-yo pictured above.


That’s not projecting as in protruding, making projections or using a projector. It’s projecting as in doing a project. It’s even pronounced differently. It’s not pro-jecting; it’s prah-jecting. That’s right. We have our own gerund. The family that projects together, stays together. My family is inordinately fond of projects. When my mom and dad came to visit California a few years back, I had just moved into a new place. On their vacation, my dad helped me install a screen door, fix the windows and paint the place. We project; it’s what we do.


This one is my grandfather’s phrase. He had a pair of faded and used blue jeans that he wore whenever he was home and projecting. He called them his sooners. The explanation is groan-worthy: “I’d sooner wear these pants than any others.” In a lot of the pictures of my grandfather, he’s wearing his sooners.

My father has a pair of faded blue carpenter Dickies with the pocket for the yo-yo and the hammer loop on the side that he wears for projecting. I have a pair of faded blue carpenter Dickies with the pocket for the yo-yo and the hammer loop on the side that I wear for projecting. They are covered in paint splatters and I just had to patch them since there was a rip in the back.

Image from www.frsafety.com
Image from frsafety.com


Stinkum is perfume. My mom bought me stinkum for Christmas. When I called her on Christmas and we were opening packages, she asked me, “Is that the right stinkum?” because she couldn’t remember if that was a brand of perfume I wear. It was the right stinkum.


On every bedside table of every member of my family across America, you will find either a jar of Mentholatum, or for us new school types, sticks:

I have a foot in both old and new school.
I have a foot in both old and new school.

We use it for chapped lips, and if you have a stuffy nose, you put a dab under each nostril and it helps you breathe. If you have a chest cold, you can slather it over your chest. I’m not sure that it helps anything, but it feels nice and tingly.

For some unknown reason, we call this stuff treat. We’ll be in the car and someone will pull out some treat, put some on, hold the stick up and say, “Treat?” We’ll pass it around until it gets back to the original treat owner.

Put your face on

Put your face on means the finishing touches of getting ready to go out. It means you’ve already taken a shower, done your hair and gotten dressed, but still need to put on deodorant or shoes or something. I would imagine that it has its origins in putting on makeup, but even the men in my family use this phrase. Are you ready to go yet? Give me five minutes, I just need to put my face on and find my other shoe.

Don’t waste your ups

Of all my grandmother’s phrases, this is the one that gets used the most. Other people who’ve heard me say it have co-opted it. My grandmother was terribly lazy or greatly enjoyed economy of movement, whichever way you choose to look at it. For example, if we were all sitting around the table playing board games at night, and someone got up to get a glass of water, she would say, “Don’t waste your ups, grab me a glass of water, too.” Don’t waste your ups is a phrase I use all the time. At first, it confused my friends when I’d hand them an empty glass and say it, but now, they use it, too. I think the fact that her lazy phrase has continued to live on after her would make my grandmother very happy.

Go Tell Aunt Rhody

My grandmother was a terrible person, but she wasn’t all bad. Tucked away inside of me are the few times where she was great. There was the one time it was so hot that she got a lawn chair and sat in the lake all afternoon. My grandmother couldn’t swim and never went in the water.

There were the times sitting around the table playing board games at night when she got laughing so hard, she’d start crying. If we were poking fun at her for losing yet again, she’d say “Go to hell, alla ya,” with a mischievous smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.

There were the times that she’d tell me our family’s history. I would sit rapt at her feet as she told me about different eras and people who died long before I was born. No one else wanted to hear the stories, but I did. I wanted to hear it all. Unfortunately, since I had a traumatic head injury, it turns out that I was not the right one to pass our oral history on to since I can’t remember most of it, and the stories I do remember are not time/date stamped anymore. It’s a shame. Most of that history is lost.

There were the times when I didn’t know what a word meant and I’d ask her. I’d always ask her, because besides everything else, she was a very smart lady who graduated from Cornell University with honors at a time when women didn’t really do that.

She’d take me by my little hand and we’d look it up together in the dictionary. She kindled and nurtured my love of words. They were not big, scary, unknown things; they were all listed in a book with what they meant and how to use them! How absolutely cool. Neither one of us ever lost our love of learning. When she turned 80 years old, I bought her a large-print dictionary. She cried. Autodidactism was the one thing we shared that the rest of the family didn’t really understand.

My absolute fondest memory of my grandmother though is of her singing me to sleep. She’d tuck me in, sit on the edge of the bed, gently brush my hair away from my face and sing me this song.

We never had an Aunt Rhody nor did we keep any geese and my grandmother had a terrible singing voice, but none of that mattered. It was the simple fact that she was singing it just for me. I will keep those moments, sayings and songs trapped in my heart forever.

Brought To You By The Letter Q

Image from Sesame Street.

Quagmires like today’s daily post prompt typically cause most to select a frequently used letter like T to start every sentence. Qualifiers like “the,” “there” or “that” are all too ubiquitous as the segue to sentence-dom. Quality quarry isn’t to be found in those overused letters. Quashing the acquiescent prey, I chose a delinquent character.

Quizzically, Q is a letter that we require, but don’t question much. Quite a lot of words begin with Q and even more contain it. Quoins are the cornerstones of buildings. Quantum mechanics shows us how the world works. Quarks are elementary particles and fundamental constituents of matter. Quinolones treat infections. Question marks turn statements into queries. Queens, aquatic, unique, tranquil, relinquish and antique cannot exist without Q. Quiche, quintets, requiems, sequels, quarters, quirky quips and inquiries would be gone with no unquestionable equivalent. Quoting Cookie Monster, you can’t spell quiet without the letter Q:

Image from Sesame Street.
“Quiet” image from Sesame Street.

Qi is unique in Scrabble as it is the only two-letter Q word and the Q isn’t followed by a U. Queen, quest, queer, quart, quick and quack all have Q followed by U. Querulous Scrabble players often unequivocally quibble that a U is requisite on the Q tile, but where is the quest in that? Q-haters loquaciously bemoan the inadequacy of Q-words, but they’re just not looking hard enough. Question how many words have Q in them without you even noticing. Quotidian usage of Q will quadruple your inconsequential vocabulary, so get acquainted with Q. Quiescent Q will someday conquer colloquialisms (or not, but either way, quintessential Q is here to stay.).

Quantity of Qs: 77 (not including those two)

Awesome Arcane Words


This week’s Prompt For The Promptless is about logomania:

Logomania is defined as an obsessive interest in words or, alternatively, excessive and often incoherent talking.

I’m not really a logomaniac, but I do have a fascination with language. I relate much more to the first part of the definition than the excessive, incoherent talking part. I’m more of a lexicon fan than a logomaniac. I think every writer is to a certain extent.

I love the English language. It is so old that there are words that haven’t been uttered in centuries. It’s really impossible to know the entire language, which is what makes it fun. One of my favorite things to do is dig out random words that no one has heard since your grandpappy was a pup and start using them again for the hell of it.

I’ve already discussed weird phrases and what they mean, obscure insults, and I’ve even made up some of my own words, but today, we’re going to talk about some words that have gone AWOL from English, when they shouldn’t have. Some of them don’t even have synonyms. These are words that are so rad that they really should come back into style.




  1. A form of irony where a person feigns disinterest in something while actually desiring it.
    Stanley used accismus to hide the fact that he was in love with Sylvia.

Synonyms: none.



  1. To speak or discourse at length in a pompous or boastful manner.
    Stanley ignored the fact that Sylvia was looking for a polite way to change the conversation and went on bloviating.

Synonyms: bluster, boast, crow, exult, gasconade, gloat, grandstand, prate, puff, rodomontade, showboat, shuck, swagger, vaunt.

Derivatives: verb bloviates, bloviated, bloviating, noun bloviation



  1. In disarray or disorder; askew.
    Stanley’s shirt was cattywampus when he came back from the bathroom.
  2. Not directly across from nor adjacent to ; located diagonally across from something
    The bathroom was cattywampus from the kitchen.
  3. Disorganized; poorly done; chaotic.
    Sylvia thought this whole night was turning out cattywampus.

Synonyms: 1. Askew, awry, crooked, off-kilter. 2. skewampus, catercorner, catty-corner, kitty-corner. 3. haphazard, jumbled, mixed up.

Alternate forms: catawamptious, catawampous, cattywampous, caliwampus, caliwampous, cankywampus, kittywampus, gittywampus.

Derivatives: comparative more cattywampus, superlative most cattywampus



  1. To eat noisily or greedily.
    Sylvia could not stand the way Stanley chanked his food as if he hadn’t eaten in years.

Noun chanking

plural chankings

  1. Food that is spit out, like pits or seeds.
    Sylvia could not stand the pile of chankings at Stanley’s feet after he ate watermelon.

Synonyms: Verb: chomp, devour, cram, stuff, wolf, hoover, gulf, guzzle. Noun: none.

Derivatives: chanks, chanking, chanked



  1. intemperate; debauched; excessive indulgence.
    Stanley’s crapulence got him kicked out of more than one bar.
  2. Hungover; Sick or indisposed due to excessive eating or drinking.
    Stanley was so crapulous that he slept all the next day.

Synonyms (adjective): drunk, pissed, hammered, debauched, intemperate, soused, pants-on-head.

Alternate forms: crapulent

Derivatives: comparative more crapulous, superlative most crapulous, noun crapulence, plural crapulences



Plural cumbergrounds

  1. Totally worthless object or person; something that is just in the way.
    Sylvia was beginning to think that Stanley was just a cumberground.

Synonyms: millstone, albatross, cross to bear, encumbrance, burden, hindrance, geritard.



plural defenestrations

  1. The act of throwing something, or someone, out of a window.
    If Stanley didn’t stop bloviating, Sylvia was going to defenestrate him.
  2. High profile removal of a person from an organization.

Synonyms: none.

Derivatives: verb defenestrate, defenestrated, defenestrating



  1. Something which looks good on the outside, but is actually rotten inside.
    If Sylvia had only known how druxy Stanley was, she wouldn’t be stuck there now.
  2. (of timber, archaic) Having decayed spots or streaks of a whitish color.
    The trees looked good until they milled them and found out they were druxy.

Synonyms: fool’s gold, false dawn.

Alternate forms: druxey.

Derivatives: comparative druxier, superlative druxiest



  1. work or service done only when the employer is watching.
    Stanley quickly picked up the phone as eyeservice when he heard his boss coming.

Synonyms: busywork.

Derivatives: noun eyeservant, eyeserver



  1. The state of having overeaten.
    Stanley ate so much watermelon that he was farctate and unable to move.
  2. (Botany) Stuffed; filled solid; as, a farctate leaf, stem, or pericarp; — opposed to tubular or hollow.

Synonyms: overfull, stuffed.

Derivatives: comparative more farctate, superlative most farctate



  1. short and fat; low and wide
    Stanley was much fubsier than Sylvia remembered.

Synonyms: stout, I’m a little teapot.

Derivatives: comparative fubsier, superlative fubsiest



  1. To look at someone with a watchful or suspicious eye.
  2. To look longingly at something, especially of a child or dog begging for food.
  3. To come thoroughly awake after a sleep by focusing the eyes on surrounding objects.
    Stanley groaked at Sylvia as she at the last piece of watermelon.

Synonyms: look at, view, consider, focus, eyeball.

Alternate forms: grook, grouk, groke, groach.

Derivatives: verb groaks, groaking, groaked.



  1. To wheedle or swindle.
    Sylvia honeyfuggled Stanley out of the last piece of watermelon.

Synonyms: cheat, swindle, cozen, dupe, trick, gull.

Alternate form: honeyfugle.

Derivatives: verb honeyfuggles, honeyfuggling, honeyfuggled




  1. To pledge or pawn.
    Stanley impignorated his love to Sylvia forever.

Synonyms: pledge, pawn, guaranty, security, surety, token, collateral.

Derivatives: verb impignorates, impignorating, impignorated



  1. weak, indecisive
  2. lacking in character or substance : insipid
    Sylvia was so tired of dealing with namby-pamby Stanley.


plural namby-pambies

  1. Of a person, weak, indecisive.
    Stanley is a namby-pamby.
 Synonyms: Adjective: pussified, wishy-washy, milquetoast, pusillanimous, mollycoddled. Noun: pussy, sissy, mama’s boy, mollycoddle, pansy.
Derivatives: comparative namby-pambier, superlative namby-pambiest




  1. To oppose.
    Did Stanley really want to oppugn Sylvia?

Adjective: oppugnant


  1. Adjective: opposing, antagonistic, contrary.
    Stanley got more oppugnant with every drink.

Noun: oppugnant

plural oppugnants

  1. Noun: One who oppugns ; an opponent.
    Stanley was taking on a serious oppugnant in Sylvia.

Synonyms: 1. oppose, antagonize, confront, contradict, controvert. 2. combative, hostile, inimical, unfriendly. 3. opponent, adversary, challenger, competitor, enemy, rival.

Derivatives: comparative more oppugnant, superlative most oppugnant, verb oppugns, oppugning, oppugned.



  1. To complain in a whiny voice.
    Stanley peenged at Sylvia for taking the last of the watermelon.

Synonyms:  bellyache, bemoan, bewail, fuss, grouse, lament, moan, snivel, whimper, whine.

Derivatives: verb peenges, peenging, peenged



  1. A behavior of quadrupeds, particularly gazelles, in which all four legs are used to push off the ground at once.

    A springbok pronking. Image from wikipedia.
    A springbok pronking. Image from wikipedia.
  2. To jump straight up.
    Sylvia pronked when Stanley honked her behind.

Synonyms: slotting, pronging.

Derivatives: verb pronks, pronking, pronked



  1. To shake back and forth.
    Sylvia took Stanley by the lapels and quagswagged him.

Synonyms: none.

Derivatives: verb quagswags, quagswagging, quagswagged



  1. A mania characterized by an uncontrollable impulse to dance, especially as prevalent in southern Italy from the 15th to the 17th century, falsely attributed to the bite of the tarantula.
  2. The uncontrollable urge to dance.
    Sylvia let go of Stanley’s lapels, and overcome with tarantism, decided they must tango.

Synonyms: none.

Derivatives: noun tarantist



  1. Noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside the area of his or her expertise.
    Stanley was being ultracrepidarian when he was bloviating on mountain climbing.

Synonyms: none.

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Part 2