I am not speechless but it astonishes me that there are so many words I have to look up. I know I have a large vocabulary (though much of it is dormant) yet I am like Linus in the defunct Peanuts comic strip with his little cloud of dirt/dust/detritus following him; so - me, with strange words hovering over my head. I read a lot and I guess much of my reading is not in my comfort zone so I keep discovering unfamiliar words. i write them down on whatever scrap of paper is handy, for later attention. This has been a strange busy week with less home time than I am accustomed to so now I have a litter of paper I must deal with.
cacography noun [ mass noun ] archaic: bad handwriting or spelling. DERIVATIVES: cacographer ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from Greek kakos ‘bad’, on the pattern of orthography.
Archaic, you say? Not these days. Cursive writing is a thing of the past. Bad handwriting is rampant, including mine.
salamander noun: 1 a newt-like amphibian that typically has bright markings, once thought able to endure fire.●Order Urodela: four families, in particular Salamandridae, and numerous species.2 a mythical lizard-like creature said to live in fire or to be able to withstand its effects.• an elemental spirit living in fire.3 a metal plate heated and placed over food to brown it.4 archaic a red-hot iron or poker. DERIVATIVES salamandrine adjective ORIGIN Middle English (in sense 2): from Old French salamander, via Latin from Greek salamander. Sense 1 dates from the early 17th cent.
I knew salamander, that's an easy one. Note, please, salamandrine. The ine suffix is useful. I first came across it in pavonine, the adjective meaning like a peacock (capricious, prismatic). Nice. I'm not sure I know anyone I could describe as salamandrine, but I'll be on the lookout.
proprioceptive adjective Physiology ; relating to stimuli that are produced and perceived within an organism, especially those connected with the position and movement of the body. Compare with exteroceptive and interoceptive. . DERIVATIVES proprioception noun, ORIGIN early 20th cent.: from Latin proprius ‘own’ + receptive.
I love words like this. I'm going to find a way to use it.
quern noun: a simple hand mill for grinding corn, typically consisting of two circular stones, the upper of which is rotated or rubbed to and fro on the lower one. ORIGIN Old English cweorn(e), of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse kvern and Dutch kweern .
I love words like this, too. Old English. Old Norse. Clinks like coins. I'll never have occasion to use this one but I like it to be there.
spicule noun: 1 technical a minute sharp-pointed object or structure that is typically present in large numbers, such as a fine particle of ice.• Zoology each of the small needle-like or sharp-pointed structures of calcite or silica which make up the skeleton of a sponge.2 Astronomy a short-lived, relatively small radial jet of gas in the chromosphere or lower corona of the sun. DERIVATIVES spicular adjective,speculate |-lət| adjective,speculation noun ORIGIN late 18th cent.: from modern Latin specula, spiculum, diminutives of spica ‘ear of grain.
I wonder if I could put a few spicules in my martini.
spliff noun: Brit. informal cannabis cigarette.• [ mass noun ] cannabis. good spliff demands good food. ORIGIN 1930s (originally West Indian): of unknown origin.
Now this one I will not ever use. I'm too old for cannabis. But it's a lovely word, and not even Anglo Saxon.
I have a lot more bits of paper to deal with. Bear with me.