Word Nerd – “C” Part 1

to cabobble is to mystify, puzzle or confuse

cachexia is a chronically bad outlook or way of thinking

a cacchinator is very loud laughter

cacoepy is a word for incorrect pronunciations

a cacogen is a hostile, unfriendly, or antisocial person

cacophemism is the opposite of a euphemism

a cadence is the harmonious combination of colors

cagg is a solemn vow not to drink for a certain period of time

to calamistrate is to curl the hair

calenture is burning passion or zeal

calliphygian means “having beautiful buttocks” while steatopygia is the condition of “having excess fat on the buttocks;” pygian is from the Greek puge, “buttocks”

cambric tea (origin is Cambria, Wales) is a beverage for children containing hot water, milk, sugar and a small amount of tea

camelopard is an old-fashioned word for giraffe

canard, the French word for duck, gave rise to cancan because of he dance’s resemblance to the wiggling bottoms of ducks

canoe is purported to be the first word from Native American languages to pass into European villages

a witch’s trick or mischievous device is a cantrip

being slight intoxicated is capernoited

a capitonym is when the meaning of a word changes according to whether it starts with a capital letter, e.g. earth/Earth, herb/Herb

literally, carnival means “flesh, farewell” as Lent meant giving up food such as meat, so the big meal before Lent was a farewell to meat

carouse comes from a German expression “time to leave the bar” or “last drink before closing” and the original meaning of carouse was “[drink] to the bottom of the glass”

the supermarket shopping cart was first called a cartwheel

cataglottal is pertaining to passionate kissing with tongues

catamaran can mean “a quarrelsome woman”; the word comes from Tamil kattamaram “tied to wood or tree”

letting off steam by cursing is catarolysis

caterpillar is from Old French chatepelose, “hairy cat”

cathexis is the concentration of emotional energy on one person or thing (activity, idea, object) countercathexis is an attempt to block from one’s own consciousness anyone or anything that is objectionable; and then there is hypercathexis, desire amounting to mania for an object

catlap is a weak drink, fit for only cats to lap

cattle is derived from Anglo-Norman cattel “movable property” and first meant “personal property”; a rancher driving cattle would call them chattels or capital

having a tail is caudate; having no tail is anurous

etymologically, cauldrons are for heating not food but people, from Latin calidarium “hot baths”

to cavil is to raise frivolous objections, find fault unfairly

cecity is blindness of the eye or mind

celebrate comes from Latin meaning “to fill often or numerous times” – alluding to the drinking involved in festivities

a centiday is a period of 14 minutes 24 seconds, or a hundredth of a day, used especially in the study of plant growth

cephalgia is a medical term for headache

the ancient Roman goddess of agriculture was Ceres, giving us the word cereal

if someone is in need of a shave, they are chaetophorous

the chantepleure is to sing and weep at the same time

a violin string is a chanterelle

chaogenous means “born into or among chaos”

chaparajos is the full form of chaps

character comes from Greek kharassein “engrave” as it first mean a distinctive mark impressed or engraved; character also has a sense of “branding-iron”

character is what one is; reputation is what one is thought to be by others

a charientism is an elegantly veiled insult

charisma first meant “the god-given power to perform miracles” (from Greek kharis, “God-given grace, favor”)

an intensive, eleventh hour effort to accomplish or finish something before a deadline is charrette

a chasmophile is a lover and seeker of nooks and crannies

a chasmophyte is a plant that grows in the crevices of rock

chatoyant derives from French, literally meaning “to shimmer like cats’ eyes”

Nicolas Chauvin, a French veteran known for extreme patriotism, was the origin for the word chauvinism

chavish is the sound of many birds chirping or singing at once

if you checkle, you laugh heartily

to be cheeping-merry is to be half-drunk

cheese derives from Latin caseus, “to ferment or become sour” which becomes queso in Spanish

an old word for “keep warm” is cherish

a cherophobe is afraid of having fun

chevelure is the trail of a comet or a fancy word for a head of hair

chicken-pecked means under the rule of a child

a figure of one thousand equal sides is a chiliahedron

a chimera (pronounced kuh-MIR-uh) is the head of a lion, body of a goat, and tail of a serpent

to chipe is to cheep and whine, to speak in a high-pitched voice in a persistent, complaining manner

grasshoppers chirr – make sound by rubbing rough surfaces together

to chirrup is to say or make high-pitched sounds

chivvy means “tell someone to do something repeatedly”

to chizz someone is to cheat or swindle them

choir was first spelled quere/quer in English (from French) but changed because of its Latin root chorus

a choller is a double chin or the hanging lip of a hound

choosehow means “under any circumstances” as in “He will have to do it choosehow.”

choreography is based on Greek khoreia, “dancing in unison,” from khoros “chorus”

chortle is probably a blend of chuckle and snort and was coined by Lewis Carroll

if something is undertaken to make money it is chremastistic or quaestuary

Christ is from Greek Kristos, “anointed one”; Christ was not Jesus’ last name, just his title

chthonic “inhabiting or pertaining to the underworld” is from the Greek khthon, “earth”

chubby is derived from chub, a thick-bodied European river fish

chug and hugg makes chuff

cilantro is the leaves or coriander

cipherdom is the state of being a nobody, a nonentity

to circumambulate is to beat around the bush or to approach something indirectly

another word for the common people or a mob is a clamjamfrie

clancular means secret or underhanded

to clapperjaw is to scold

a claque is a group of people hired to applaud an act or performer

to clepe is to call or to name; its past forms are cleped/clept or ycleped/yclept

late night refrigerator raiding is called cleptobiosis

to leave finger print smudges on a clean surface like windows is to climp

clinamen is an inclination or bias

clinomania is an excessive desire to stay in bed

clinquant means glittering, as tinsel or spangles

clivose means hilly or steep

to cloffin is to sit idly by a fire

to clointer is to make a noise with the feet, like treading heavily in shoes

cloying means “overly sweet” – from the verb cloy, “to overload, to surfeit with food” or “to gratify beyond desire”

chunk and lump = clump

hands stiff with cold are said to be clumpst

if you are clumse, you are stiff from the cold

the difference between a coast and the shore is the coast is seaward limit of the land the shore is the landward limit of the sea

cob meaning “spider” survives only in the word cobweb (from Old English, literally “poison head or cup”); cob was first spelled cop(pe)web as coppe meant spider

cockamamie, “nonsensical, ridiculous,” may be corruption of decalcomania

to cockerate is to brag

a candy heart with a message is called a cockle

a cock-tailed horse was one with a docked tail, usually non-thoroughbreds which raced, and this led to the sense of “lack of purity; adulteration” which probably led to the cocktail as drink sense for an “adulterated” spirit

if your Adam’s apple is larger than normal, you are cock-throppled

the word coffee derives from Arabic qahwah, a word originally used for wine or a drink made by infusion; when coffee first arrived in Europe, it was known as “Arabian wine”

cogitabund is being deep in thought

cognomen is literally “name by which one is known”

cohonestation is honoring another with one’s company

a word inventor is a coiner or neologist

a collation is a light meal at an unusual time – a bringing together of elements required for a meal – and the verb can mean “have lunch with”

to talk secretly is to collifobble

collision involves two or more moving objects, not a moving object and something stationary

a typical arrangement or combination of words is a collocation, such as “red apple,” “nice day”

collywobbles is a humorous term for stomach pain, queasiness, intense anxiety, or nervousness (from colic + wobble)

baby seahorses are called colts

columbine means “dove’s plant” as the inverted flower has some resemblance to five pigeons clustered together

the adjective form for dove is columbine

a long curving wave is a comber, a wave that curls over and dissolves into foam is a breaker, and a long wave moving steadily shorewards is a roller

comestion is a fancy word for eating

comity is courtesy and considerate behavior toward others

the fully critical word commercialism indicates a system which puts financial profit before any other consideration

company once meant “sexual intercourse”


To be continued………



Word Nerd – “B”

Second installment of the Word Nerd series! Enjoy! Which one is your favorite?

babies-in-the-eyes is the phenomenon of seeing yourself in another person’s pupils

a bablatrice or chaterestre is a female babbler

a backfriend is a secret enemy, a pretended or false friend
(Anyone who has seen Prison Break knows this definition well)

backslang is reversing the pronunciation of words like “look” to “cool” and “dog” to “god” and “ynnep” to “penny”
(Me and my dad’s favorite past time

at early dances, sometimes a ball was thrown; the name was retained even though people stopped throwing a ball at these events

to balter is to tangle the hair

bandit is derived from the Italian bandito, literally “banned person” ; bandit’s plural is bandits or banditti

a banger is an enthusiastic kiss

a banjulele is a cross between a banjo and ukelele

banshee is from the Irish words bean sidhe, “women of the fairy world”

barathrum is a bottomless pit or hell

barber comes from Latin barba, “beard,” because a barber’s work consisted of trimming beards – and originally they also performed surgery and dentistry!

barbet was the name for a poodle until the early nineteenth century

bardolatry is excessive admiration for Shakespeare

barleyhood or barlihood is a bad temper induced b drinking

a barnacle is a tenacious person or thing

ear pain due to the change of pressure during air travel is barotitis

barter probably comes from the French word barater, “deceive”

basement first meant toilet

basil from Greek basilikos, “little king,” or basilikon, “royal,” is so named for its being used in royal potions, medicines, and perfumes

bass is an obsolete word for kiss

bastinado is punishment by beating the soles of the feet with a stick

a battle between frogs and mice is batrachomyomachy

to beaze is to dry in the sun

beblubbered is another word for swollen

the word bedlam s a contraction of Bethlehem, a hospital in London which became a lunatic asylum

a bedswerver is an adulteress

begrutten is having a face swollen from weeping

behest is a stronger word than request

a belgard is a longing loving look

bellhop derived from a clerk ringing a bell on the counter and the worker “hopping” to see what was wanted

a bellibone is a woman who is beautiful and good

the beauty of a person is his/her bellitude

a long time bachelor who is newly married is a benedict or benedick

a berry is a any fruit enclosed in a fleshy pulp – like a banana or tomato

betweenity is another word for indecision

bevy can describe a throng of girls, women, roebucks, quails, or larks

bibliobibuli are people who read too much

bibulous first meant “absorbent, like a sponge” and later figuratively meant “addicted to alcohol”

bicker is to quarrel and dicker to is haggle or bargain

bikini was named for the atoll in the Pacific where an atom bomb was exploded – alluding to the explosive effect of the garment

bidet originally meant “pony” – referring to the position one must assume to use a bidet

a British billion is an American trillion and an American billion is a milliard in England

to revolve a log in the water while standing on it is birling

bisssextus is another term for February 29 and that day is intercalary

the word bitch has meant dog since before the tenth century, but in the fifteenth century began to be used for an immoral or despicable woman

a bladderskate is an indistinct  or indiscreet talker

a blatteroon is a person who will not shut up

someone’s complexion or color can be called his/her bee

bleezed refers to the state of one on whom intoxicating liquor beings to operate

blepharon means having big eyebrows

bless originally meant “To redden with blood” as in sacrifice – hence, God bless you literally means “God bathe you in blood”

a group of unicorns is a blessing
**This is the BEST!**

blizz, a violent rainstorm, is not related to the world blizzard

skin that peels off after a sunburn is called blype

bodacious is a blend of bold and audacious

bolus is chewed food ready for swallowing and chyme is swallowed, partially digested food

bookkeeper is the only English word with three consecutive repeated letters (not including its other forms) in which omission of the medial hyphen is a practical option, which it is not in, for example, hoof-footed, or sweet-toothed

boondocks if from the Tagalog bunok, meaning “mountain” – a word misheard during WWII in the Philippines and now used to mean “backwoods, remote rural area”

a boondoggle is a task of little practical value; to boondoggle is to do useless or futile work

boom and hoist combined to make boost

boudoir is from bouder, “to pout or sulk” and originally meant a room where one went when feeling depressed or unsociable (literally French for “sulking room”)

a brannigan is a spree or binge

brit are tiny sea creatures that are dinner for a whale

to burn slightly or to singe is to brizzle

brockie is a cow with a black and white face or any person with a dirty face

brou ha ha! was an exclamation used by characters playing the devil in sixteenth century french dramas – coming from the barukh habba (beshem adhonai), blessed is he who comes (in the name of the Lord)

brumal means wintry, belonding to winter – from Latin brumalis, from bruma, “winter,” which is a contraction of brevima, “shortest day, winter”

if you have a double chin you can call it a buccula

buculets are the little bumpers on the underside of a toilet seat

a bugaboo is something which one finds terrifying

bully first meant lover or sweetheart, then fine fellow, then blusterer, then “person who harms or threatens weaker people”

bumwhush is a state of annihilation or ruin or obscurity

yes, there is a such thing as a buttock, singular


Word Nerd – “A”

I have a book called Word Nerd. It is basically a dictionary on crack. It features odd definitions, words you never knew existed, and tons of etymological fun facts! There are so many crazy and interesting words and definitions and I felt that I needed to share some! Here are just a few that I have found thumbing through.

abracadabrant means “marvelous or stunning”

an abrazo is a greeting of a bear hug and a back pat

acrasia is acting against your better judgement or a lack of self-control

an acroama is a dramatic recitation during a meal

actor was originally an agent or administrator and in Latin it meant “doer”

aeaeae is “magic” – and is derived from aealae artes, “magic arts”

agathokakological means “made of good and evil”

agglutination is the formation of new words by combining other word or word elements

the aigrette is the feathery top of a dandelion

aileron is literally “little or small wing”

fear of chickens is alektorophobia

alieniloquy is a word for rambling or evasive

alpenglow is the rosy lighting of the setting or rising sun as seen on high mountains

altivolent means flying high, as an eagle

alto, which means high, was formerly the highest male voice (now coutnertenor) but is now the lowest female voice
(I always knew I was a high man voice and not a low female voice!)

one meaning of amaranth is a “flower that never fades”

amen is from Hebrew meaning “truth, certainty” and it is generally accepted as mean “so be it”

amentia is being out of one’s mind with joy, in a rapturous daze

in the summer you might have anadipsia, great or excessive thirst

anaudia is a loss of voice

people who live on the same longitude but on opposite sides of the equator are antiscians

aposiopesis is stopping in the middle of a statement upon realizing that someone’s feeling are hrut or about to be hurt; also when a sentence trails off or falls silent

apple is one the oldest English words and first referred to fruit in general

applesquire is an obsolete term for a pimp

an aquabob is a cute name for an icicle

an ascian is one who has no shadow

a love song at dawn is an aubade, the opposite of serenade

aura originally denoted a gentle breeze, now is more used to describe the energy field that radiates from all living organisms

avocado comes from the Aztec word ahucatl, “testicle,” and guacamole comes from ahuacatl-molli, “avocado sauce.”
(yup folks….guacamole means testicle sauce.)

And that about does it for “A.” Quite a good one to end on as well!! Look out for more to come! : )