Expanding my vocabulary in 2013

At the beginning of this year, one of the things I wanted to do was log new words I came across, and how I came across them. Obviously this isn’t a fool-proof method and there must have plenty of times when I couldn’t be bothered with logging new words, but still, a start. A couple of words were familiar from before but it was good to be re-introduced to them; ‘cadge’ and ‘lithic’ for example – I’ve never used ‘lithic’ by itself though ‘monolithic’ and ‘paleolithic’ are obviously known words.

I wasn’t surprised a few months down to note that Words With Friends was leading me to expand my knowledge of the English language considerably. Here’s the full list, with sources in brackets:

Unci: hook-shaped part or process (Words With Friends)

Miri: Language spoken in Tibetan Burma (Words With Friends)

Cadge: to ask for obtain something to which one is not entitled (Words With Friends)

Lithic: related to stone or rock (Words With Friends)

Agene: a yellow pungent volatile oil formerly used for bleaching and aging flour (Words With Friends)

Pedalferrous: from ‘pedalfer’, a soil in which there is no layer of accumulated calcium carbonate, but in which oxides of iron and aluminium have tended to accumulate (initially came across it in an article in The Magazine by Erin McKean)

Swart: swarthy (Words With Friends)

Culti: plural of cultus which is Latin for cult (Words With Friends)

Drek: German for rubbish, trash (Words With Friends)

Fila: plural of filum, threadlike structure (Words With Friends)

Yowe: Scot for ewe (Words With Friends)

Vair: A fur, probably squirrel, used to trim robes in medieval times (Words With Friends)

Shul: synagogue (Words With Friends)

Deontologically: From Wikipedia: “the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action’s adherence to a rule or rules. It is sometimes described as “duty” or “obligation” or “rule” -based ethics, because rules “bind you to your duty” (Justified Ethicality, Shalvi et al, part of the reading list for the Coursera Behavioural Economics course taught by Dan Ariely that I did earlier this year).

Eudaemonia: Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, “human flourishing” has been proposed as a more accurate translation (also via the Coursera Behavioural Economics course, and Umair Haque cemented it in my memory when he used it in his Meaning 2013 talk later in the year)

Catachresis: a misuse of a word, a wrongly applied metaphor or trope (via Artwiculate on Twitter one day)

Pandiculate: to fully stretch the torso and upper limbs, usually accompanied by yawning (via a How Stuff Works podcast, May 2013)

Chaordic: a system of organization that blends chaos and order (via this interview with Dee Hock, former CEO of Visa International)

Coxa: upper leg (Words With Friends)

Biga: A type of pre-fermentation used in bread-baking (Words With Friends)

Divot: A loose piece of turf torn up during golf (Words With Friends)

Glomming: stealing, become stuck or attached to (via this Mediapost article)

Jerboa: hopping desert rodents (Words With Friends)

Dacha: Russian word for second homes (Words With Friends)

Keet: a guinea fowl (Words With Friends)

Klezmer: a musical tradition of the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe (via this article on tech intellectuals in Democracy)

Geed: past tense of ‘gee’, used to command an animal (horse) to move (Words With Friends)

Thole: to endure something without complaint or resistance (Words With Friends)

Blet: a state of softness in fruits brought about by over-ripening (Words With Friends)

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