Sunday, 18 May 2008


At college a close friend, Sue Harding, and I used to try to learn one new word each day. The idea was to ensure that we dropped it into the conversation at the earliest opportunity. Of those words, I can recall that we learned together - pinguid, pusillanimous, plunk, polemic. These have remained some of my favourite words ever since - both for their own sound and for their association with Sue in whose company I spent many happy hours. Thanks for all the coffees, Sue.

Here are some more of my favourite words:-
astragal - a narrow half-round moulding
Beelzebub - fallen angel in Milton's Paradise Lost
bizarre - strikingly out of the ordinary
bazaar - a market (as in the Middle East) selling miscellaneous goods
blessed – {when pronounced bless-ed) - held in reverence
comely – having a pleasing appearance
egregious – conspicuous, especially conspicuously bad
eleemosynary - of, relating to, or supported by charity
flibbertigibbert - a silly flighty person
gelid – very colds, icy
gnarled -  full of knots
gnash – to strike or grind
harlequin - a character in comedy and pantomime with a shaved head, masked face, variegated tights, and wooden sword
ineluctable - not to be avoided, changed, or resisted
laconic – concise to the point of seeming rude or mysterious
malacologist - student of molluscs
mendacious - characterized by deception or falsehood
moonset - the descent of the moon below the horizon
numpty – idiot; general foolishness
onomatopoeic - the use of words whose sound suggests the sense
opsimath - mature student; late learner
parabolic – relating to a parabola (motion in a parabolic curve)
philately – stamp collecting
pinguid – greasy
plangent - loud and sad
plunk - dive: drop steeply; make a hollow sound
polemic - work that intends to stir up controversy
procrastinate - to put off intentionally and habitually
pusillanimous – contemptibly fearsome, lacking in courage
quetzel - Rare Central American bird; the Resplendent Quetzel is the national bird of Guatemala
rhetoric -  the art of speaking or writing effectively
rubric - order of service, rule for exam
serendipity – finding agreeable things by accident
sesquipedalian - having many syllables
squelch – to emit a sucking sound
tautology - needless repetition of an idea, statement, or word
tmesis - separation of parts of a compound word by the intervention of one or more words
tranquil – free from agitation of mind or spirit, disturbance or turmoil
viridian - a chrome green pigment that is a hydrated oxide of chromium
whimsy - a fanciful or fantastic device, object, or creation
widdershins - in a left-handed, wrong, or contrary direction
willy-nilly - in a haphazard or spontaneous manner

Sentence for Sue – Is it permissible for people to procrastinate during polemic discussions on the possibility of plunking pinguid pork pies through pure pusillanimity?

1 comment:

  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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