Friday, November 6, 2009

Five Words - 1

Have you ever really thought about words? Maybe it has to do with being raised by a mom that was a librarian and a dad who, when asked "What does x mean?" would always reply "Look it up!" How many of you asked for a dictionary for your birthday?

Words often express simple ideas: a tree, a rock, water, and so on. But, sometimes a word describes a more complex or beautiful idea.

Have you ever found yourself wondering, "Wouldn't it be nice if there were a word for this?" Well, there is a word for almost everything under the sun.

Here are just a few neat words I have come across in my wacky web wandering -



MEANING: noun: The part of the body where one cannot reach to scratch.

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek aknestis (spine), from Ancient Greek knestis (spine, cheese-grater).




MEANING: verb intr.: To work (such as study, write, discourse) laboriously or learnedly.

ETYMOLOGY: Here's a word that literally encapsulates the idiom "to burn the midnight oil". It's derived from Latin lucubrare (to work by lamplight), from lucere (to shine). Ultimately from the Indo-European root leuk- (light) that's resulted in other words such as lunar, lunatic, light, lightning, lucid, illuminate, illustrate, translucent, lux, and lynx.



(el-uh-MOS-uh-ner-ee, el-ee)

MEANING: adjective: Relating to charity.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin eleemosynarius, from eleemosyna (alms), from Greek eleemosyne (pity, charity), from eleemon (pitiful), from eleos (pity).




MEANING: adjective: Eccentric, silly, scatterbrained.

ETYMOLOGY: Of unknown origin.




MEANING: noun: Contemplation of one's navel.

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek omphalos (navel) + skepsis (act of looking, examination).


In the future I'll be posting more of these words that I come across. If you have some of your own, please feel free to send them along.

Now, if you will excuse me, it is time for my daily omphaloskepsis. Or is that too wifty?

Later I want to get outside and enjoy some astronomy. Although studying the Red Planet sometimes mars my evening plans.

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