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Words. Nice Ones.

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  • Words. Nice Ones.

    Here's fun.

    We (me and 'my' nurses) were discussing the juiciest and most desirable words this morning. Obviously, a lot of these were medical, but my favourites are:

    'Platybelodon' (A Caenozoic - I think - elephant-like beast with an oddly elongated mandible);

    'Crepuscular' (Popular - descriptive of dawn and dusk, or referring to animals active at those times);

    'Myelophthisis' (The process by which bone marrow is replaced by tumour tissue or similar unuseful stuff - good word for a nasty thing);

    'Hirundines' (Birds of the swift/ swallow/ martin varieties);

    'Sturmgeschutz' (German armoured assault gun).

    What are everyone else's fave words? :roll:

    No, I wasn't very busy today, either... :)

  • #2
    Nothing very odd about those words, especially "hirundine"
    and "crepuscular." Ever heard of the "crepuscular poets" of
    modern Italian literature? (You could look it up, I don't doubt,
    and perhaps an encounter with the works of Quasimodo might
    repay your time spent. :-])

    Since you seem to labor under a weakness for recondite polysyllables,
    here are two that you might find amusing:

    - turdiform (like a thrush). The genus and species of the common
    American thrush is, I seem to recall, turdus turdus. This is
    one of my favorites in the category "misleading words."

    - erinaceous (resembling a hedgehog). This is occasionally useful if
    you wish to consign someone to the single-minded, one-big-idea
    clan according to the intellectual taxonomy set up by Sir Isaiah Berlin
    in his study of Tolstoy and de Maistre, The Hedgehog and the Fox.

    LSN

    Comment


    • #3
      You've gorn and done it now, LSN! I've just had a complex polyglot (at least, latino-english) conversation with my Mrs concerning Erinaceus, erinaceous, Ericaceous and Echinacea, not to mention Echinoderms and hyperechoicity! Doh!

      Interestingly ( 8O ) our great Expedition Mongolia 1990 was principally concerned with determining the distribution boundary between the West European Hedgehog, E. europaeus, and the Long-eared Desert Hedgehog, Hemiechinus auritus. Unfortunately., we didn't find any. Of either species. We were also trying to determine if the Black Widow spiders (Latrodectus spp. - another lovely name) exist in the Gobi.

      They don't.

      :oops:

      The turdidae 'round here produce plenty of faeces - mainly aimed at my car (You can tell by the berries...). Did you know the singular of faeces is faex? I like that word too. :)

      Comment


      • #4
        *confussled*
        Regret achieves nothing. Regret breeds weakness. Regret is a cancer which attacks the body's vital organs and eventually destroys.

        Comment


        • #5
          Long time listener, first time caller... (well third time but hey)

          I have always been a big fan of 'flummox'.

          Comment


          • #6
            i'm still in love with "onomatopoeia". BOOM! there it is. ;)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Perdix
              You've gorn and done it now, LSN!
              Sorry if I got you into trouble.

              Originally posted by Perdix
              I've just had a complex polyglot (at least, latino-english) conversation with my Mrs concerning Erinaceus, erinaceous, Ericaceous and Echinacea, not to mention Echinoderms and hyperechoicity! Doh!
              Cicero himself possessed not so pure a Latin style, sir.

              Free association might more properly be conducted in the Community Exchange
              forum. How else to yoke together hedgehogs, shrubs, coneflowers, starfish,
              and regions of higher density detected via a sonogram?

              Perhaps you've been drinking? :-]

              Incidentally, I understand how the term "hyperechoicity" was arrived at,
              but it's such a ghastly neologism, that it seems a trifle low-class. It succeeds
              in combining inelegance with a lack of lucidity. A lot of more recent medical
              terminology is like this, alas. :roll:

              Originally posted by Perdix

              The turdidae 'round here produce plenty of faeces - mainly aimed at my car (You can tell by the berries...). Did you know the singular of faeces is faex? I like that word too. :)
              All of us not devoid of Latin learned that of course. One of the joys of learning
              a language, no matter how "dead," is to discover that language's scabrous elements.
              In truth, the force of faeces as an expletive doesn't equal its olfactory potency.

              Here are a few more words that might strike your fancy: bathycolpous, flavicomous,
              insessorial, hypogeal, and one of my favorite words, contumely.

              LSN

              Comment


              • #8
                Beautiful words, LSN (not to mention crisply constructed sentences). Word of the day is:
                Ochraceous

                Yes. Ochraceous.

                Perhaps Community Exchange would be better - I thought that was either a resettlement project for disposessed Melniboneans, or somewhere to swap first-edition Moorcockiana :)

                Whilst at school, Poetgrrl, I laboured under the misapprehension that 'Onomatopoeia' was a fictional country - something like Utopia and I pronounced it accordingly - Onomatopia. Dur! :oops:

                I was, clearly, flummoxed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Perdix
                  Beautiful words, LSN (not to mention crisply constructed sentences). Word of the day is:
                  Ochraceous

                  Yes. Ochraceous.
                  I'll admit that's a strange one. I thought it so when I first encountered it
                  in a list of pigments my wife had. (She's a painter of landscapes.)
                  At first, I thought it a misprint. "They meant 'ocherous," I'll bet!" I recall
                  remarking. I looked it up, and it's a real word. It does indeed mean
                  "ocherous," but it's a legitimate variant form. I gather it might be used
                  in ordinological descriptions of various animal and plant species. Clearly,
                  a specialized word.

                  Originally posted by Perdix
                  Perhaps Community Exchange would be better - I thought that was either a resettlement project for disposessed Melniboneans,
                  We've been found out.

                  Originally posted by Perdix
                  or somewhere to swap first-edition Moorcockiana :)
                  Actually, we're simply swapping bad verses and similar found objects.

                  You should visit the "Poetry"
                  thread and contribute. Your logophilia (logomania?) would be a welcome addition.
                  It might well be a sine qua non.

                  Originally posted by Perdix

                  Whilst at school, Poetgrrl, I laboured under the misapprehension that 'Onomatopoeia' was a fictional country - something like Utopia and I pronounced it accordingly - Onomatopia. Dur! :oops:
                  Sort of like Dinotopia, but with lots of strange transcriptions of loud noises
                  defacing the landscape?

                  LSN

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Widdershins is a word I have always loved, as is oxter. The Blackadder episode with Johnson has a fine collection of polysyllabic synonyms, too.
                    You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

                    -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

                    Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

                    :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


                    "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Governor of Rowe Island
                      Widdershins is a word I have always loved,
                      A bit of an antique choice, that one. Means "counterclockwise" if I recall.

                      I remember encountering it in a Poul Anderson novel many years ago. It may have
                      been the revised edition of The Broken Sword. It was most definitely employed
                      in that lame novel, The Demon of Scattery.

                      Originally posted by GofRI
                      as is oxter.
                      That's a funny one. An obscure word meaning "armpit," if memory serves.
                      Actually, I'm fairly sure. :-] I think it's related to the Latin axilla.

                      Here's a slightly odd word that I've never liked: eleemosynary. It's not that odd
                      a word, really. Henry Fielding, in Tom Jones seemed more than a little fond
                      of it. It means something like "gratuitous" or "contributed by charity" or
                      "dependent on charity." The word doesn't have sharp edges, as you can
                      see. For some reason, the word refused to stick in my head. I had to look
                      it up 3 times in a year, which annoyed me to no end. My memory's eidetic,
                      so this was slightly extraordinary. I concluded my memory didn't want to
                      accept the word -- was perhaps even rejecting it somehow.

                      Now it's finally in long term memory storage. Problem is, I detest the word; it's
                      uneuphonious, and the meanings attached make it not particularly useful.

                      This opens up another potential line of discussion: slightly odd words that
                      certain writers use compulsively, but that annoy the reader. Here's an
                      example, from that clunky book by Bram Stoker, Dracula: the word is
                      "stertorous." I know perfectly well what it means. Stoker used it in ways
                      that made me wonder whether he was clear on that question. It occasionally
                      struck me as risible. I wanted to punish Stoker every time I encountered this silly
                      word in his book. As a result, I wanted to punish him a lot. :roll:

                      It has been many years, but I seem to recall a similar problem with Stephen
                      Donaldson and the word "glaive." This word has a very specific meaning,
                      yet Donaldson seemed at one point to consider it a general term. :roll: :lol:

                      LSN

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                        Yeah, well I'm guilty of it myself. Of course, I'm somewhat insouciant about the whole thing... :)
                        You've got a right to be insouciant. Your word usage always struck me as
                        right and proper, and (to the ear), excellent. I conclude that although your
                        novels seem visually conceived, you give the words a test at the sonic level.
                        Don't know whether this is conscious on your part.

                        Stoker and Donaldson, although their work possesses some positive qualities
                        here and there, often write English as if they were born deaf. :?
                        Couple that with a lack of precision and a compulsive repetition of certain words,
                        and the results can be memorably bad.

                        There are a lot of writers I can think of whose prose has a wonderful sound
                        and cadence. To mention some of your friends (no need to give you further
                        blushes :lol:), Thomas M. Disch and M. John Harrison.

                        Someone who writes very well, but whose prose isn't exactly mellifluous:
                        J.G. Ballard. My admiration for Ballard is considerable, but mellifluousness
                        isn't really one of his goals, I gather.

                        LSN

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Crapulent is one of my favourites. :lol:
                          \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            I've always liked "parabola", ever since I first heard it in school. I suppose my favourite at the moment would be "Ludivine", but my motives on that one aren't entirely pure, so perhaps I shouldn't have brought it up... although it is a beautiful name.
                            "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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