Sunday, October 31, 2010


Chicanery \shih-KAY-nuh-ree\, noun;
1. The use of trickery or sophistry to deceive (as in matters of law)
2. A trick; subterfuge

How apropos for Halloween...chicanery or treat!

According to
Dating to 1600, the word comes from French chicanerie ("trickery"), which derives from Middle French chicaner ("to pettifog, quibble"). Chicaner perhaps comes from Middle Low German schikken ("to arrange, bring about") or from the name of a golf-like game once played in Languedoc.
According to the OED, this word was once more anglicized, spelled chicanry.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Sunday, October 31

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Caterwaul \KAR-uhr-wawl\, intransitive verb;
1. To make a harsh cry
2. To have a noisy argument
1. A shrill, discordant sound

I have a feeling this one somehow relates to cat + wail...

According to
The modern form of this word comes from caterwrawen, which dates to the late 14th century, and probably derives from Middle Dutch cater- ("tomcat") + Middle English waul ("to yowl"). Waul comes from Old English *wrag or *wrah meaning "angry."
The Oxford English Dictionary's etymology of this word is somewhat more involved. First, the noun apparently came from the verb, and the verb has occurred in various forms: caterwrawe, -wawe, -wrawl(e), -wawle, -waul. Wrawren, wrawlen, and wraule appeared as independent verbs and were applied to cats, squalling children, and the like. The reason that there is so much variation in this word (and that its etymology isn't very clear) is because the word probably started out as an onomatopoeia and was eventually adopted as a regular word. There is a long list of Proto-Indo-European-derived words that are similar to waul and its variations that all have similar meanings. The OED corroborates's derivation of cater, but adds that it may have also existed in Old English, but there's no real way of proving that with the information we have.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Saturday, October 30

Friday, October 29, 2010


Trepidation \trep-uh-DAY-shuhn\ , noun;
1. [archaic] An involuntary trembling; quaking; quivering
2. A state of dread or alarm; nervous agitation; apprehension; fright

According to
The word dates to around 1600 and comes from Latin trepidationem (nominative: trepidatio), meaning "agitation, alarm, trembling." It is a 'noun of action' from the past participle stem of trepidare ("to tremble, hurry") from trepidus ("alarmed, scared"). The Latin word derives from Proto-Indo-European *trep-, meaning "to shake, tremble." *Trep- also lead to Sanskrit trprah ("hasty"), and Old Church Slavonic (the great-grandparent of all Slavic tongues) trepetati ("to tremble").

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Friday, October 29

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Kvetch \KVECH\ , intransitive verb;
1. To complain habitually
1. A complaint
2. A habitual complainer

According to
Kvetch, meaning "to complain, whine," dates to 1965 and comes from Yiddish kvetshn, which is literally "squeeze, press," and derives from German quetsche, "crusher, presser."

I need to stick this one in my New York lingo hat. Lots of New Yorkers like to throw around Yiddish words (we've all schlepped at some point, no?)

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Tuesday, October 28

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Inchoate \in-KOH-it\ , adjective;
1. In an initial or early stage; just begun
2. Imperfectly formed or formulated

According to
Dating from the 1530's, the word comes from Latin inchoatus, which is the past participle of inchoare, and alteration of incohare, which means "to begin." Incohare is a combination of in- ("on") + cohum ("strap fastened to the oxen's yoke") and originally meant "to hitch up."

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Thursday, October 27

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Eke \EEK\ , transitive verb;
1. To gain or supplement with great effort or difficulty -- used with 'out'
2. To increase or make last by being economical -- used with 'out'

This is one of those words that is in every crossword ever. It's also one of those rare words that is pure English, through and through.

According to
The word dates back to about 1200 and comes from eken, meaning "to increase, lengthen." Eken is probably a variation of echen, from north England and the English Midlands, derived from Old English ecan, eacian, and eacan, all meaning "to increase" and all coming from eaca ("an increase"). Eaca comes from a proto-Germanic word *aukan, which comes from proto-Indo-European *aug-, meaning "to increase" (which is also where augment comes from). The modern usage is usually to eke out, and that phrase dates back to the 1590's and means "to make something go further or last longer," like if you eke out your income by taking a second job.

Historical linguists are constantly trying to rebuild and recreate old versions of modern languages to see what the linguistic landscape looked like at various points in time. One of the theories of the whole science of historical linguistics is that if you go back far enough there was a proto-language that is the common ancestor for all modern tongues - the "Adam" of human language, if you will. So far this has not been discovered, but linguists have learned a lot about the way languages are related and they organize these relationships into something resembling genealogical family trees.
The most studied language family is proto-Indo-European (PIE). PIE was a language that long ago split into 6 groups: Italic, Hellenic, Germanic, Celtic, Anatolian (extinct), and Tocharian (extinct). Italic is the ancestor of Latin, and therefore all the Romance Languages. Hellenic is the forbear of Greek, and Celtic is the basis of all the Gaelic languages spoken in Ireland and Scotland. The Germanic family tree includes English, German, the Norse languages, Dutch, and the like. Language families roughly correlate to geographic regions, but there are no real lines separating one from another because language exists in a continuum. For Example, in Parisians speak French and Berliners speak German, but along the French-German border the language is a mixture of the two: either German-sounding French or French-sounding German. This type of overlapping is an example of the fluidity of spoken language and is the basis for how languages split from each other in the first place.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Tuesday, October 26

Monday, October 25, 2010


Juju \JOO-joo\ , noun;
1. An object superstitiously believed to embody magical powers
2. The power associated with a juju

The Oxford English Dictionary actually has three different entries for juju or ju-ju. The first is similar to the given definition: "An object of any kind superstitiously venerated by West African native peoples, and used as a charm, amulet, or means of protections; a fetish. Also, the supernatural or magical power attributed to such objects, or the system of observances connected therewith; also, a ban on interdiction effected by means of such an object (corresponding to the Polynesian taboo)." The etymology for this definition is uncertain, but it's definitely West African and possibly from French joujou, meaning "plaything."
Another definition is: "A style of music originating among the Yoruba people of Nigeria, characterized by lyrics drawn from the traditional praise songs, proverbs, etc., and typically an instrumental backing of intricate, melodic guitar lines and complex polyrhythms played on a range of percussion, [especially] talking drums." This etymology is also uncertain, but it's possibly from Hausa jùujúu, meaning "fetish"
The third definition is: "A marijuana cigarette", which is a reduplication form of (mari)ju(ana).

I have a feeling that the reason these etymologies are 'uncertain' is because they are as old as time. This idea of superstition and protective charms is as old as the human race and a word like juju could have been made up a thousand times by a thousand different people to mean something like this. Obviously there's nothing superstitious about the sounds involved - sounds are sounds, they don't intrinsically mean anything - but a simple, reduplicated word could have come from anywhere at anytime. I also have a suspicion that the marijuana juju has much more to do with the magical juju than the actual word 'marijuana'. I don't have any real evidence, but if juju has been in the vernacular meaning something magical it could be easily applied to marijuana - plus no one really pronounces the -ju-.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Monday, October 25

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Slugabed \SLUHG-uh-bed\ , noun;
1. One who stays in bed until a late hour; a sluggard

I'm pretty sure this word was made up by someone's mom and put here as a joke. Slugabed?

It does appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, and the etymology is exactly what you'd think: slug- + abed ("lazy" + "in bed") = slugabed. Surprisingly (well, maybe not when you consider that the component words are somewhat archaic) the word dates back to at least 1592 when Shakespeare wrote in Romeo & Juliet IV.V.2 'Why Lambe, why Lady, fie you sluggabed.'

I'm going to hazard a guess here, based on the Shakespeare line, that this word was actually in English slang long before 1592. The trouble with etymology dictionaries and historical linguistics is that spoken language is incredibly rich and vibrant, but also fluid and variable. The goal of historical linguistics is to re-create what a language looked like at various points in time and to trace its evolution. If you were to read Beowulf in its original form it would be nearly impossible (unless you've studied Old English extensively, in which case, good for you!), but that language was the basis of the English we speak today. The attempt to trace language and re-create it is very romantic and most people would probably find it interesting, but it's an enormous task that is basically impossible. The problem is that language disappears as soon as it's used. In the absence of recording technology the things we say today are only recorded in the memory of those who heard them - but human memory is very fallible and people have a tendency to die. So, to trace words in the distant past we have to rely on written texts alone. Since literacy for the masses was not particularly common until recent centuries, most writing was done by specialists and scholars only. Imagine reading your psychology 101 textbook and treating it as a representation of English today, not an accurate picture. Shakespeare was a revolutionary playwright who wrote for the masses, not haute society. He used slang, vulgar speech, vernacular, and all sorts of 'improper' English that most writers of his generation would never dream of using in their compositions. Because of this, several words in the OED owe their first attribution to him. Keep in mind, he was not creating words that ended up 'sticking' simply because he wrote them (Lewis Carroll did do that, but that's another post), he was just reflecting the common language as he saw it.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Sunday, October 24

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Parse \PAHRS\ , transitive verb;
1. To resolve (as a sentence) into its component parts of speech with an explanation of the form, function, and syntactical relationship of each part
2. To describe grammatically by stating its part of speech, form, and syntactical relationship in a sentence
3. To examine closely or analyze critically, especially by breaking up into components
4. To make sense of; to comprehend
5. (Computer science) To analyze of seperate (input, for example) into more easily processed components
intransitive verb;
1. To admit of being parsed

According to
This word is pretty old, dating from 1550's, meaning "to state the parts of speech in a sentence." It's the verb use of Middle English pars, which is a noun meaning "part of speech." Pars comes from Old French pars, which is the plural of part, meaning "part" and deriving from Latin pars, used in the school question Quae pars orationis?, ("What part of speech?").

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Thursday, October 23

Friday, October 22, 2010


Crepuscular \kri-PUS-kyuh-lur\ , adjective;
1. Of, pertaining to, or resembling twilight; dim
2. (zoology) Appearing or active at twilight

This word perfectly conjurs up an image of twilight; it's dark and a little damp, you can hear the scratches and shuffles of nocturnal creatures greeting their new day. The rustle of leaves in the cool night air makes you shiver and the sound of something large moving in the bushes startles you. A far away coyote howls at the moon as you pull your jacket tight and briskly begin your walk home.

According to
This word was used in a figurative sense in the late 1600's and early 1700's, but the meaning became more literal around 1755. It derives from Latin crepusculum, meaning "twilight, dusk". Crepusculum comes from creper ("dusky") which is of unknown origin. The word generally refers to evening twilight, as opposed to dawn.

I'm not sure I understand the figurative v. literal sense of this word. I'm guessing the figurative sense was something like, "Why are you trying to read in this crepuscular room? It'll ruin your eyes." Since the room isn't affected by sunset like nature is, it's a figurative usage. The literal sense could really mean the zoological application, especially since the online etymology gives an exact year rather than a decade or century. If an existing word was coined as a scientific term it might be easier to pinpoint an origin, unlike spoken language, in which is almost impossible to determine exactly when and where words enter the vocabulary.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Friday, October 22

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Coruscate \KOR-uh-skayt\ , verb;
1. To give off or reflect bright beams or flashes of light; to sparkle.
2. To exhibit brilliant, sparkling technique or style

According to
Dating from at least 1705, this word comes from the Latin coruscatus, which is the past participle of coruscare, which means "to vibrate, glitter"
The Oxford English Dictionary gives a slightly different definition: "To give forth intermittent or vibratory flashes of light; to shine with a quivering light; to sparkle, glitter, flash"

So even though this word doesn't mean "glitter" in the same sense as that stuff you glue to clothes to make them sparkle, but I'm completely distracted by that word being used in the definition. All I can think of is how much glitter I am guaranteed to see in a couple weekends on Halloween, this is the East Village after all... 

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Thursday, October 21

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Antediluvian \an-tih-duh-LOO-vee-uhn\ ;
1. Of or relating to the period before the Biblical flood
2. Antiquated; from or belonging to a much earlier time
1. One who lived before the Biblical flood
2. A very old (or old-fashioned) person

I like ante- as an affix because it, in and of itself, seems quaint and old-fashioned, which is what it's meant to convey.

According to
The word dates back to the 1640's and comes directly from Latin: ante- + diluvium  = "before" + "a flood." This word is interesting because the man who coined it is actually known. His was an Englishman named Sir Thomas Brown, and he was a Physician who lived in the 1600's.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Wednesday, October 20

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Viand \VAHY-uhnd\ , noun;
1. An article of food, now usually of a choice or delicate kind

Booo-ring, viand is obviously connected to French viande, which means "meat." We Americans tend to think that French things are fancy, and 'meat' is a pretty general word in the world of food, so French meat = fancy food.

According to
The word dates from the 14th century and comes from an Anglo-French word viaunde, which derives from the Old French world viande, meaning "food". Viande dissimilated from 'vulgar Latin' vivanda, which comes from vivenda, meaning "things for living" in Late Latin and "be live" in classical Latin.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Tuesday, October 19

Monday, October 18, 2010


Laconic \luh-KON-ik\ , adjective;
1. Using or marked by the use of a minimum of words; brief and pithy; brusque

According to
The word dates back to the 1580's and meant "concise, abrupt". It derives from the Greek Lakonikos, meaning "person from Lakonia," which is the district around Sparta in southern Greece in ancient times. People from Lakonia were supposedly proud of their brevity. As an example, when Philip of Macedon threatened them with, "If I enter Laconia, I will raze Sparta to the ground." To which a Spartan replied, "If."

The Oxford English Dictionary reflects the same sentiments, so I'm going to be laconic and leave it at that.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Monday, October 18

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Fulsome \FUL-sum\ , adjective;
1. Offensive to the taste of sensibilities
2. Insincere or excessively lavish; especially, offensive from excess of praise

This one got me thinking of the Man in Black, Johnny Cash. Folsom Prison Blues was one of his signature songs and was often the first one he would play after his standard introduction, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash." Fulsome is a word that no one would use to describe Cash or his music, but the slight phonetic similarity and negative connotation is at least enough to warrant a google search. Folsom State Prison is named for Folsom, a suburb of Sacramento in California. Unsurprisingly, the town is named after some rich guy.

According to
Fulsome is a middle English compound: ful + sum ("full" + "some") and originally conveyed a sense of "abundant" and "full" in the mid-13th century. A century later is meant "plump, well-fed" and by the 1640's it had become "overgrown, overfed." 20 years later it was being used to describe things that were "offensive to taste or good manners" and that definition still holds today. In the last 50 years, however, the word can also be used favorably, but that definition is usually reserved for fulsome praise.

The Oxford English Dictionary lists 7 different definitions, some including multiple sub-definitions and most of them convey a sense of gluttony or over-indulgence of some form and are obsolete.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Sunday, October 17

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hair of the Dog

Hair of the Dog (that bit you): an alcoholic drink that is supposed to cure a hangover

Happy Saturday! Hopefully you didn't need any 'hair of the dog' this morning...

This phrase was originally in reference to the treatment of a rabid dog bite. You were supposed to put the dog's hair on your wound and you would be cured. I'm not sure how effective that treatment could possibly be though, since there is currently no known cure for rabies. The only way modern medicine can treat the disease is to administer a vaccine within two days of being bitten. Untreated, the disease can lead to coma and death.
The modern use of 'hair of the dog' dates back to Shakespeare himself who used the phrase in Twelfth Night. There is some evidence that this is an effective treatment because low doses of ethanol can alleviate the first stages of alcohol withdrawal. However, a hangover is not exactly the same as withdrawal and introducing more alcohol into your system is a questionable move when you are dehydrated and feeling like sh*t anyway.
I'll stick to ibuprofen and large quantities of water...and breakfast from Micky-D's

Friday, October 15, 2010


Smithereens \smith-uh-REENZ\ , noun;
1. Small pieces; bits

Yes! I loooove this word. I feel it's especially appropriate because I just listened to a podcast about Roald Dahl and this word seems very Dahl-esque.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary this word is very Irish, it is either adopted from or the source of the modern Irish word smidirín and was used by James Joyce in Ulysses (very Irish indeed).

Go smash something to smithereens today!!!!!

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Friday, October 15

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Hopscotch \HOP-skoch\
1. To journey quickly and directly from one usually far place to another
2. To move or pass through something, as a geographical area or a field of endeavor, making many brief stops
1. A children's game in which a player tosses or kicks an object into one of several numbered sections of a diagram marked on the ground.

Hopscotch is a game that always confused me as a kid. On tv it's usually in those scenes of idyllic childhood flashbacks, conveying the idea that it's the ultimate childhood game (for girls anyway). Watching this always made me feel like I should play it too because apparently everyone has fond memories of the game. However, I always found it to incredibly boring. I'd rather dig in the dirt! Writing this I thought maybe I didn't know the right rules, but I just looked it up and I knew exactly how to's really just not that fun.

The Oxford English Dictionary does not include any definition of hopscotch other than the children's game, so I'm not sure about those verb definitions. The word seems to have originated in the late 1700's and it's etymology is very simple: in the game you hop over a scotch (an incised line or scratch), thus hopscotch. Other variations are hop-score, hop-scot, and scotch-hoppers.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Thursday, October 14

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Apocopate \uh-POK-uh-peyt\ , verb;
1. To omit the final sound or sounds of (a word).

Hmm, this word is suspiciously linguistic-sounding. I'm assuming this means saying things like 'tellin' without pronouncing the full \ŋ\ (which is -ng, for those unfamiliar with the phonetic alphabet). 'Gonna' is similar because 'going' loses the full \ɪŋ\ (-ing) sound, but since it's elided with 'to' it's not simply apocopated.

This word does not exits in, and the Oxford English dictionary doesn't have much on the verb apocopate. The participle adjective entry refers to apocope, which means "The cutting off or omission of the last letter or syllable of a word," so this is obviously from where today's word is derived. Apocope comes from Greek words meaning "a cutting off" or "to cut off".

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Wednesday, October 13

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Retrograde \RE-truh-greyd\ , adjective;
1. Having a backward motion or direction; retiring or retreating
2. Inverse or reversed, as order
3. Exhibiting degeneration or deterioration

At first I thought that this word was used in carspeak (a language I thoroughly don't understand), but while googling it I found something much more interesting: retrograde ejaculation. Retrograde ejaculation is when the semen goes into the bladder instead of being expelled from the body, which sounds....horrible. I'm obviously not a guy, but I can imagine that this would make one extremely uncomfortable, not to mention panicky!

According to
The word dates back to the late 14th century and was originally applied to the apparent motion of planets. It comes from the Latin retrogradus and retrogradi, which mean "going backward" and "move backward," respectively. Retrogradi is a combination of retro- ("backward") and gradi ("to go, step"). The general sense of "tending to revert" goes back to at least the 1530's.

14th century? This word is retro (wah wah). Sorry, I had to...

Also, I'm pretty sure the carspeak word I was thinking of is retrofit.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Tuesday, October 12

Monday, October 11, 2010


Nepenthe \ni-PEN-thee\ , noun;
1. A drug or drink, or the plant yielding it, mentioned by ancient writers as having the power to bring forgetfulness of sorrow or trouble
2. Anything inducing a pleasurable sensation of forgetfulness, [especially] of sorrow or trouble.

Kind of sounds like another word I know: alcohol. It does seem kind of nice though, and it reminds me of that one day after I had shoulder surgery when I drifted in an out of a pain killer-aided nap all day. I was absolutely blissfully unaware of how much I was going to ache and how poorly I was going to sleep for the next few months.

According to
Nepenthe is really supposed to be nepenthes, but the 's' was dropped in English, as is common for adopted words. The word dates back to at least 1580 and comes from a Greek construction: ne- + penthos ("no, not" + "grief"). Penthos is a relative of pathos, which has a meaning most of us recognize ("suffering" or "experience").

The Oxford English Dictionary has an additional medical definition for this word that is now considered historical and rare:
An opiate; [specifically] a sherry-based tincture of opium and morphine

This word is prevalent in Greek literature and mythology, so it has trickled down into various parts of our modern culture. First mentioned in print in the fourth book of Homer's Odyssey, the word can be found in modern poetry, books, movies, and other pop culture genres. There is even a restaurant in Big Sur named this word. Personally, I think this would be a fantastic name for a wine or martini bar.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Monday, October 11

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Round Up: 10/5-10/10

I must have been busy or something because all of a sudden I didn't post anything for 6 days! Here are the words of the day for October 5-10.

Sunday, October 10:
Bricolage \bree-koh-LAHZH; brih-\ , noun;
1. Construction or something constructed by using whatever materials happen to be available.

Saturday, October 9:
Roborant \ROB-uh-ruhnt\ , adjective, noun;
1. adj. Strengthening; restoring vigor
2. n. A strengthening medicine; a tonic; a restorative

Friday, October 8:
Wassail \WAH-sul; wah-SAYL\ , noun;
1. An expression of good wishes on a festive occasion, especially in drinking to someone.
2. An occasion on which such good wishes are expressed in drinking; a drinking bout; a carouse.
3. The liquor used for a wassail; especially, a beverage formerly much used in England at Christmas and other festivals, made of ale (or wine) flavored with spices, sugar, toast, roasted apples, etc.

Thursday, October 7:
Mana \MAH--nuh\ , noun;
1. A generalized, supernatural force or power, which may be concentrated in objects or persons.
2. An ancient kingdom in Iran, in Kurdistan.

Wednesday, October 6:
Acta \AK-tuh\ , noun;
1. Official records, as of acts, deeds, proceedings, transactions, or the like.

Tuesday, October 5:
Teem \TEEM\ , verb;
1. To abound or swarm; be prolific or fertile
2. To empty or pour out; discharge

Monday, October 4, 2010


Nympholepsy \NIM-fuh-lep-see\ , noun;
1. A frenzy of emotion, as for something unattainable.
2. An ecstasy supposed by the ancients to be inspired by nymphs.

My husband listens to a late-night radio talk show called Coast to Coast AM. This is the kind of show where the host interviews people who most of us wouldn't give the time of day. They talk about paranormal stuff, end-of-days predictions, fairies, alien abduction, and every other crazy thing you can think of. This word has to have been used on that show at some point, because where else would this word ever be apropos?

The etymology of this word derives from ancient Greek νυμφ{goacu}ληπτος, and is a combination form nymph- + -o- + -lepsy. The suffix -lepsy indicates an attack or seizure of some sort, so this is a 'nymph attack' or 'nymph seizure', and if you know that nymphomania is hypersexuality, the given definition starts to make sense. The OED notes that the 'frenzy' this word indicates is especially useful in describing the emotions a man feels towards a nice looking girl they can't have.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Monday, October 4

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Fossick \FOS-ik\ , verb;
1. To search for any object by which to make gain
2. Mining. To undermine another's digging; search for waste gold in relinquished workings, washing places, etc.
3. To hunt; seek; ferret out

This word is mostly used in Australia to meaning 'mining' or 'prospecting' and comes from an English dialectal noun fossick, "troubling person", or fossicking, "troublesome." Neither of these words are in the online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (which is the source of this etymology), so I'm assuming these words are considered obsolete.

My mom loves animals, so as a result my family has had almost every pet imaginable. Chinchillas, a peacock, horses, goats, rabbits, and on and on. However, there has always been a short list of absolutely-not-every-going-to-get-ever-never pets: snakes, pigs, ferrets. That's the whole list, everything else is fair game. Well, the other day she got a ferret...go figure. Anyway, the real point here is that she has 4 dogs (in addition to the ferret, chinchillas, cat and probably other things I don't know about). Three are miniature pinchers and one is some sort of terrier and their combined average weight is about 9.75 pounds. They are literally a pack of ankle biters. Today my mom went to her mom's house because one of her siblings is visiting from out of state. Earlier my uncle had told my mom she should bring her dogs to see if they could catch any of the rats that have been hanging around grandma's house (apparently she has a rat problem since her cat went missing). My mom, of course, obliged and the 3 able-bodied dogs set to work (one pincher is blind as a bat and getting old). I'm sad to report that they didn't catch any mice or rats. Two of them did, however, KILL A POSSUM! This creature weighed at least two pounds more than either dog, and when you weigh less than ten pounds, a 1-2lb difference is huge! Suffice to say, these two voracious hunters successfully fossicked that possum and impressed everyone in the process.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Sunday, October 3

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Mussitate \MUHS-i-teyt\ , verb;1. To silently move the lips in simulation of audible speech

This word brings immediately to mind Mufasa and moussaka, but of course it mussitate has nothing to do with either of those words, or Turkey or Africa either.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines this word 'to mutter' and lists it as obsolete and rare. The etymology is based on the Latin mussitare or 'to mutter', but it is also imitative of an ancient Greek word μ{guacu}ζειν, which also means 'to mutter'

So next time someone stands behind you and rudely mimics you while you talk, don't get mad, tell them that their mussitating makes them look juvenile...yeah, that'll show 'em...

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Saturday, October 2

Friday, October 1, 2010


Satori \suh-TOHR-ee\ , noun;
1. In Zen Buddhism, the state of sudden indescribably intuitive enlightenment.

According to
This Japanese word dates back to at least 1727 and literally means "spiritual awakening"

The Oxford English Dictionary didn't have anything to add so I consulted Wikipedia, which says satori (悟り) is usually considered the first step on a Buddhist's road to nirvana. I don't know much about Buddhism, but I kind of like the idea of an inspired 'flash' that sets you down the road to total peace. There are stories like that in the Christian and Hebrew bibles, and I would assume that this is a basic tenet of religion. After all, if you haven't found God (or whatever/whoever your guiding light may be), sometimes you need a kick in the pants to start down a spiritual path.

*Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Friday, October 1