Words & Phrases (March 2017)


Something all writers love is words, and we delight in finding the right turn of phrase to express ourselves. As a reader, I also enjoy discovering new words and concepts whether it’s from a published work, an indie short story, a fanfiction, something I heard on a TV show, or a word discovered in a news article. This is a list of some of the things I’ve learnt over the past months.


Anecdoche – A neologism from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows which describes it as “a conversation in which everyone is talking but nobody is listening”

Avocation – as opposed to a vocation, something you do for enjoyment, such as a hobby, or a secondary occuption

Avulse – to remove or take away forcibly


Balbutiate – to stammer

Bicameral – (of a legislative body) having two chambers
“Westworld” recently had an episode titled The Bicameral Mind, after a psychological hypothesis known as bicameralism


Cafuné. – a borrowing from Brazilian Portuguese meaning to run one’s fingers through a lover’s hair


Digitigrade – an animal such as a cat or dog that walks on its toes (digits) without the heels touching the ground


Egregore – from the Greek word meaning watching, it has come to mean a collective group mind


Factotum – handyman, household servant with many duties, employer with varied duties, jack of all trades

Froward – not to be confused with forward. Someone who is difficult to deal with, a contrary person


Mateloge – Discussions around Starz TV show “Black Sails” have brought renewed interest to the term Matelotage, which was a civil partnership between two male pirates

Mondaine – of fashionable society, wordly, also can refer to a fashionable woman


Orbuculum – another name for a crystal ball


Precariat – a social class of people living without predictability or job security and often in severe deprivation – read more


Stillicide – nothing to with killing despite the cide suffix, this refers to a continual dripping. In Scottish Law, the right of a householder to allow rainwater from their roof to drip onto a neighbour’s premises.

Sumptuary laws – laws intended to restrict and reduce consumption and extravagance especially in terms of dress, luxury items, and household goods, and meant to uphold religious beliefs and morals as well as class division


Troposphere – the lowest of the five levels of the earth’s atmosphere reaching from the ground to as high as 12 miles above sea level in places . The stratosphere is above the troposphere.

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