Tag Archives: dictionary

Word of the Week – March 12, 2022

Corybantic

Adjective

Latin, 17th century

Wild; frenzied. Cybele, a goddess of nature from Greco-Roman mythology, had priests and attendants called “Corybants.” The term comes from the Greek “Korubantes.”

Example: Some of my stories appear corybantic upon initial reading, but there’s a reason behind the chaos.

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Word of the Week – March 5, 2022

Aporia

Noun

Latin, 16th century

An irresolvable internal contradiction or logical disjunction in a text, argument, or theory. (Rhetoric) the expression of doubt.  Stems from ​​late Latin via the Greek “aporos,” meaning “impassable”: “a-” means “without,” and “poros” means “passage.”

Example: The aporia in our office led to a complete restructuring of staff.

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Word of the Week – February 26, 2022

Compendious

Adjective

French, 14th century

Containing or presenting the essential facts of something in a comprehensive but concise way.

It stems from the Old French “compendieux,” from the Latin “compendiosus,” which means “advantageous, brief.”

Example: My compendious speech on the evolution of canines impressed my fellow Toastmasters.

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Word of the Week – February 19, 2022

Operose

Adjective

Latin, late 17th century

Involving or displaying much industry or effort.

Example: My science fiction novel has proven to be an operose project.

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Word of the Week – February 12, 2022

Anima

Noun

Latin, early 20th century

The part of the psyche that is directed inward, in touch with the subconscious.  (Historical philosophy) the soul, especially the irrational part of the soul as distinguished from the rational mind.

This term was coined by psychoanalyst Carl Jung but stemmed from the feminine of the Latin “animus,” which means “the rational soul; life; the mental powers, intelligence.”

Example: After a lifetime of battling depression, I realized I have the anima to handle anything.

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Word of the Week – February 5, 2022

Haecceity

Noun

Latin, 17th century

The property of being a unique and individual thing.  From the medieval Latin “haecceitas” – “haec,” feminine of “hic,” meaning “this.”

Haecceity is a philosophical concept attributed to Scottish Catholic priest and university professor John Duns Scotus. He defined it as a non-qualitative property of a substance or thing that is responsible for its individuation and identity, such as a particular person’s unique identity. Interestingly, Scotus is also where the term “dunces” originated from. His opponents equated Duns’ followers, who argued against Renaissance humanism, to dullards incapable of scholarship.

Example: I finally realized my haecceity prevents me from being placed in categories designed by others.

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Word of the Week – January 29, 2022

Apodictic

Adjective

Latin, 17th century

Clearly established or beyond dispute: originally from Greek “apodeiktikos” and “apodeiktos” and Latin “apodicticus”, it stems from the verbal adjective of “apodeiknynai,” meaning “to show off, demonstrate, show by argument, point out, prove.”

Example: My apodictic knowledge of the history of canines is due to my life-long love for dogs.

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Word of the Week – January 22, 2022

Tsundoku (積ん読)

Noun

Japanese (slang), 19th century

Acquiring reading materials and letting them pile up without reading them.  It combines elements of tsunde-oku (積んでおく, to pile things up) and dokusho (読書, reading books). As currently written, the word combines the characters for “pile up” (積) and the character for “read” (読).

Example: My vast tsundoku looks overwhelming, but it’s still comforting to me.

Image: Ronnie Filyaw – Whomp!

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Word of the Week – January 15, 2022

Passim

Adverb

Latin, 17th century

Of allusions or references in a published work to be found at various places throughout the text.

Example: Hints of my family history are occasionally passim in my writings.

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Word of the Week – January 8, 2022

Dithyramb

Noun

Latin from Greek, early 17th century

A wild choral hymn of ancient Greece, especially one dedicated to Dionysus.

A passionate or inflated speech, poem, or other writing.

Example: My energetic dithyramb on the stupidity of trickle-down economics fell flat at the Ronald Reagan Glee Club meeting.

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