I'm thinking...

Like you, I have too many balls in the air, juggling and trying to keep up with them. So I decided to share one of them with you: words. I keep writing down words I come across in my reading. Some of them seem familiar but they are not yet part of my owned vocabulary, Perhaps you already know some of them. You can let me know if this is a waste of your time….

STOCHASTIC, adjective technical

having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analysed statistically but may not be predicted precisely.

ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Greek stokhastikos, from stokhazesthai ‘aim at, guess’, from stokhos ‘aim’. (I like the origin!)

HEURISTIC, adjective

enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves. a ‘hands-on’ or interactive heuristic approach to learning.

ORIGIN early 19th cent.: formed irregularly from Greek heuriskein ‘find’.

Here’s one I came across, definition and all:

ZARF (n.) The cardboard collar placed around a paper coffee cup to protect your hands from the heat. This item has usually been called a “cup sleeve” in modern times, but “zarf” is an old Arabic word, recently revived, for an ornamental holder for a coffee cup with no handle. Added to the American Heritage Dictionary in 2015. (It’s not in my computer dictionary.)


an extract from a text, especially a passage from the Bible. a book of pericopes.

ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: via late Latin from Greek perikopē ‘section’, from peri- ‘around’ + kopē ‘cutting’ (from koptein ‘to cut’). (Not what I expected at all.)

APOTROPAIC, adjective

supposedly having the power to avert evil influences or bad luck: apotropaic statues.

ORIGIN late 19th cent.: from Greek apotropaios ‘averting evil’, from apotrepein ‘turn away or from’ + -ic. (This should come in handy.)


ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from late Latin anfractuosus, from Latin anfractus ‘a bending’.

REREDOS, noun (pl.same) Christian Church

an ornamental screen covering the wall at the back of an altar.

ORIGIN late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, from Old French areredos, from arere ‘behind’ + dos ‘back’

I haven’t been able to find everything I wrote down, possibly because my writing is so bad I can’t read it, or else because the computer dictionary is more limited than the OED. No matter, there are lots more. In fact, I’ll save my next lot for tomorrow: eight words I found in Michel Crummey’s books. Newfoundland words, of course. I have a Newfoundland dictionary, so I was able to find them all.

Isn’t this fun?