Saturday, May 30, 2009


Oh, blog. How I have missed you. How I have totally failed to update, all through this, the merry merry month of May. I took my job because it seemed at the time to be low stress, easy work. Could come home to write, could spend work time thinking about writing. Not so much, as it turns out, especially lately.

Oh, well.

One of my biggest pet peeves (WAY ahead of awkward segues) is the phrase "words can't describe." As in there are no words capable of describing how you feel. Bullshit. Or cop out at the very least. Just because you don't know the words doesn't mean someone didn't think one up for this very situation in which you find yourself. Saying there aren't words is a cheap way of implying an emotional punch to a situation without, say, finding a fucking dictionary.

Maybe that's just me. I love obscure words. And, in keeping with something I used to do on my LJ way back when, I'm here to impart more of that love to you.

Let's start with my favorite: floccinaucinihilipification. The longest word in the English language that does not contain the letter "e." Floccinaucinihilipification is the act of judging something to be worthless, and it has an interesting pedigree, etymology-wise. It's got four root words smooshed together: flocci, from floccus, a piece of wool (which had a figurative meaning in Latin as something worthless); nauci, from naucum, a trifle; nihil, meaning nothing; and pili, from pilus, a hair, a whit, something tiny and worthless. The story goes that someone 'round the 18th century combined the four roots. First use of the word in print occurs around 1741. Which also of course means that if, IF, there isn't a word out there for you, you can always coin one.

Floccillation, by the way, is in pathology the delirious picking at bedclothes by a patient, which goes back to the wool-related root word, picking as one would at wool.

Enantiodromia is the adoption of a set of beliefs opposite to the ones you previously held.

To rassaasy is to satisfy a hungry person and someone who blames themselves rather than others is intropunitive.

More to follow in coming weeks. Most of the words I got for this list I took from the book Word Nerd, by Barbara Kipfer. Check it out; it's a hoot.

1 comment:

  1. Your post reminded me of this:
    (particularly the first row.)

    Also, thanks for the heads up on Word Nerd. I'll have to look that up.