gormandize \GOR-mun-dyze\ (verb) - To eat greedily.
"Dana watched in horror as her brother gormandized the hors d'oeuvres, polishing off the entire lot before any of the other wedding guests even arrived."
From the noun "gourmand," a synonym of glutton, originally fairly disparaging in tone. Likewise, "gormandize" was an unflattering term...Read more
homunculus \hoh-MEN-kye-les\ (noun) - A very small man.
"If Gibson's brother is a giant in his field, he is a homunculus in his."
From the Latin diminutive (a word referring to something small or beloved) of homo, hominis "man." Until modern medicine, it was believed that a human sperm cell contained a "preformed" complete homunculus that ...Read more
abibliophobia \eh-bi-bli-ee-FO-bee-yeh\ (noun) - The morbid fear of running out of reading material.
"Jamie is such an abibliophobe that he never leaves the house without several magazines and a few books under his arm."
Today's is likely a fun word created for amusement more than linguistic use. However, it is constructed well and has ...Read more
vicarious \vi-KAE-rih-es\ (adjective) - Substitute, surrogate, representative; exercised or endured by someone else, as vicarious powers or punishment; experienced through someone else's experience.
"Michelle was more the sort to travel vicariously through the travelogues of others or enjoy fine cuisine vicariously through the gleams in the...Read more
maquiladora \meh-ki-leh-DO-reh\ (noun) - A US- or foreign-owned assembly plant just south of the US-Mexico border that employs low-cost labor to assemble products and ship them back, usually tariff-free, to the country of origin.
"Nathan was less than three years away from early retirement when his entire division was eliminated and the ...Read more
snuggery \SNEHG-ehr-ee\ (noun) - 1 : A snug place, a friendly nook to which someone might retreat or retire for seclusion and comfort; 2 : a snug job position offering security without risk, a sinecure; 3 : (Britain) a small room adjoining the bar in a pub.
"Janie's job has become a little snuggery where no one bothers her and she ...Read more
entropy \EN-treh-pi\ (noun) - 1 : The measure of energy unavailable for work in a closed system, generally taken to be the degree of systemic disorder; 2 : the tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to degenerate and become inert, inactive; 3 : the steady deterioration of any system.
"Fritz was wont to say, as he entered his...Read more
sapient \SEY-pi-yehnt\ (adjective) - Possessed of notable wisdom; sagacious to the point of prescience. The noun is "sapience" and the adverb, "sapiently." It is a somewhat more erudite term for "sagacious."
"Jace indicated that he would not call Serena's investment in the electric fork company a sapient financial move."
From Latin...Read more
apothegm \AE-peh-them\ (noun) - A terse saying that sums up a philosophical insight or conclusion; a maxim, an aphorism.
"Nicola felt that one of Thomas Jefferson's better apothegms was, 'In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.'"
Today's is a word we have not quite decided how to spell: "...Read more
nescient \NE-shent, NE-si-yehnt\ (adjective) - 1 : Ignorant, lacking knowledge; 2 : agnostic, believing that man is incapable of understanding the nature of the universe.
"Mr. Frank's heart tightened ever so slightly before yet another sea of nescient freshman faces in the auditorium."
"Nescient" has few relatives. The noun from it is "...Read more
bling-bling \BLINE-BLING\ (noun) - (Slang) A self-consciously over-the-top and expensive style, originally in jewelry, but also in clothes, cars and general life-style.
"One-hundred-and-two year old Granny Estep, the sole custodian of the family's jewels, tended to turn up at gatherings bling-blinged to the eyeballs in ancient furs and ...Read more
druther \DREH-dhehr\ (noun) - (Slang) Choice, option.
"When it comes to alternatives to his fast food job, hish school dropout Danny had very few druthers."
This word is a gift from the US South to the English-speaking world. It was clipped from the phrase "(I)'d rather" in a dialect of the southeastern United States, where "rather" is ...Read more
odium \O-dee-ehm\(noun) - The stain of deepest dishonor, such as disgrace from evil behavior; hatred or repulsion elicited by degenerate acts.
"Jacobinism was destroyed; its party, as a party, was extinguished; its tenets were involved in almost universal unpopularity and odium..." -- George Walker, 'The Vagabond'
Today's word is also the ...Read more
agora \AEH-geh-reh\ (noun) - A meeting place or marketplace.
"Jenny agreed that the university was the town's intellectual agora, while her house was neighborhood's the social agora."
From Greek agora "marketplace," the noun from ageirein "to assemble." The Greek word also underlies "category" from Greek kategorein "to accuse, predicate" ...Read more
recreant \RE-kri-yehnt\ (adjective) - 1 : Disloyal, unfaithful, apostate; 2 : cowardly, faint-hearted, craven.
"Jeannie, you knew I was going to buy that dress tomorrow; how could you be so recreant as to buy it today?"
From Old French "recreant," present participle of recroire "to give up in battle or go over to the enemy" from ...Read more
froward \FRO-we(r)d\ (adjective) - Contrary, disobedient, obstinate, even perversely so.
"No one can be more guilty of frowardness than a beautiful, bright, and overindulged three-year-old."
Today's word is a plain Middle English addition to the language, no frills attached. "Fro" was borrowed from Old Norse "fra" during the Viking ...Read more
vociferous \voh-SIF-uh-rus\ (adjective) - Marked by or given to vehement insistent outcry
"The students launched a vociferous protest upon learning the college was planning to fire the popular professor."
"Vociferous" derives from the Latin "vox," which means "voice." But other English words can be used to describe those who compel ...Read more
eruction \ee-RUHK-shehn\ - The expulsion of stomach gases through the mouth; a belch, a burp.
"Jason was well known for his loud, ill-timed eructions which he would inevitably let loose during pauses in boring, long-winded lectures by his social studies teacher."
Today's word comes from Latin eruct-are "belch out" based on . e(x) "out" + ...Read more
What's the deal with "comptroller" and "controller"?
Peter Van Winkle of Boston asked me that question a while ago, and it's time to settle this past-due account. (And no, despite Peter's last name, it hasn't been 20 years.)
To paraphrase Olivia Newton-John, "Let's get fiscal."
Both "controller" and "comptroller" come from the 13th-century ...Read more
behemoth \bee-HEE-mehth\ (noun) - An enormously large beast or other object.
"I leaped downward to the ground, hoping that the behemoth did not see me. I gently rested the palm of my hands onto the ground, feeling the life underneath." -- Derric Euperio, 'The Adventures of Ryushin'
Today's word is Hebrew behemoth, used in Job 40:15 and ...Read more