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Marilyn Perry's Words of the Week

Here is a growing list of unusual vocabulary, terms, and terminology, discovered while living everyday and while browsing the internet's worldwide web, reading curious sources of information and opinion where such words appear, experienced and curated by me, Marilyn Perry.

Quite a while ago someone used the word felicitous to describe the tone of my written communications. This occurred, curiously, within a business context with someone being cordial, but who was at the same time an adversary as well. Using the word felicitous was an unexpected, subtle, complement, about handling a difficult negotiation while keeping potential tension and rancor to a minimum

Monday December 18, 2023

This word, baizuo, is a recent discovery, the word baizuo having shown up recently on internet social media. The word baizuo is a Chinese epithet, a neologism that is a sarcastic insult used in reference to smug, European / American / Western, "left wing" political views such as identity politics. The Chinese epithet baizuo associates such politics with what they believe is a misplaced, smug, sense of cultural superiority. Does America's baizuo know that this is how many Chinese people perceive them?

Wednesday October 21, 2020

This word, askance, is actually one that some people use in everyday verbal discourse. It has arrived here in this list simply because I thought to use it some writing, and decided that words like this ought to be included in this ongoing catalog of interesting vocabulary.

Monday May 4, 2020

This curious word, quidnunc, appeared on the twitter feed of a rather erudite university classmate of mine on Friday April 13, 2020. This is the sort of word one uses when one wants to adroitly belittle and disparage a disrespectful person, at the same communicating to that person, who might know this word, who might not be a student of vocabulary, that they are clearly the lesser person, as a matter of character, culture, intellect, as well as education. 

Sunday April 19, 2020

This wonderful word, disconcertion, describes a very specific form of social discomfiture when one experiences a sense of inadequacy. Often, disconcertion is an experience that occurs before anything tangible or concrete has ever occurred. Disconcertion can have a chilling effect on a person, causing that person to refrain from some action or activity for which that person has concluded they might not have the skilled, or the standing or stature, to engage in.

Thursday December 27, 2018

Cambrian Explosion - The phrase Cambrian Explosion appeared recently in an online technology article. However, it was used metaphorically to refer the sudden and widespread appearance of a technological phenomenon, and not in the context of its original archeological connotation, referencing to the historical juncture during which complex animals began to proliferate, and whose fossilized skeletal remains provide proof of their existence. 

Friday October 5, 2018

Chad - This apparent slang term appeared in an online post or news article the other day. It turns out that this term chad is a derogatory pronoun depicting, young (20s to early 30s), urban, single, European American men. Merely reading about this neologism via web search results yields a host of other hilarious neologisms as well, such as manosphere. incel, inceldom, crotchbulge, and more. 

Sunday September 16, 2018

Anodyne - This is one of many words that has appeared recently while reading online news articles. This word anodyne is an unusual word that doesn't at all sound like its meaning. The word anodyne means: inoffensive, unlikely to incite dissent, not distressing. 

Monday March 19, 2018

Allosteric - The word allosteric is a rather obscure technical term related to biochemistry and the regulation of enzymes. This adjective is most often part of the phrase allosteric regulation, which controls the way enzymes bind to proteins. 

Monday February 5, 2018

Frolic - No, the word frolic isn't a fancy or complex word. However, the very sound of the world frolic is superbly inventive. The inspiration for thinking about this wonderful word was seeing videos of bear cubs frolicking around, learning how to be bears. Bears are amazing. The English word frolic is a social descendant of the Dutch word vrolyc, which means to be happy. That original Dutch word was itself apparently a concatenation of the words vro, meaning "merry", and the word lyc, meaning "like". The English word frolic is merely an Anglicization from Dutch. 

Thursday October 19, 2017

Spruiking - This is a truly obscure synonym for speaking in public. There is even a noun version, spruik,to describe someone who is a public speaker, a showman or salesperson.

Monday September 12, 2016

Philopatric - Having the tendency to stay in a particular geographical area, for example, in the case of animals like salmon, to return to their birthplace to spawn.

Monday September 5, 2016

Irredentism - Irredentism is a word that probably qualifies for nomination to the list of all time amazing words of the week. I can't remember where I saw this, but it surely arose in the midst of America's current near cold civil war of culture between the political "left" and "right". Irredentism is the advocation of restoring a country's lot political structure, or geographical boundaries.

Monday August 29, 2016

Hubris - Such a familiar word, but such an appropriate word for our time, during which conceit, arrogance, egotism, and pomposity are on display through our media and government.

Monday August 22, 2016

Hallow - When this word is used as an adjective with a sort of past tense formation, hallowed, it is quite familiar, but seeing the word hallow in verb form, has been unusual. As a verb, the word hallow means to consecrate something or someone, to honor, revere, and so on, inspiring finding ways to use the word without religious inference.

Monday August 15, 2016

Autoclave - A type of oven used for curing materials like plastics and carbon fiber composites, and also for sterilizing medial instruments.

Tuesday July 12, 2016

Decrepit - Someone elderly, frail, feeble, and infirm. 

Wednesday July 6, 2016

Apostasy - Revolt or defection from, abandonment of, or renunciation of, a religion. 

Wednesday July 6, 2016

Derisory - describing something absurdly small or abstractly inadequate. The term can also be used as an adverb to deride or demean.

Friday July 3, 2015

Obloquy - While reading some information on a legal subject, the wonderfully specific term obloquy appeared in the text of an appellate court ruling. The term obloquy certainly isn't used in general contemporary discourse, but it does appear to have become a legal term of art, specifically used to describe unjust public abuse and scorn arising from libel. Synonyms for obloquy, such as ignominy, opprobriumvituperation, and vilification, seem just as entertaining as this curious word itself,

Tuesday August 19, 2014

Felicitous - meaning words or language well chose and/or well suite to the circumstances, apt, fitting, as was as pleasing or fortunate.

Friday August 8, 2014

Agliophobia  - While web searching for background information about words that included: Hades, Succubus, and abject, the footnotes in the definition for the word abject in one online dictionary included a list of phobias. One of the phobias was agliophobia, meaning an abnormal fear of pain. The very existence of such a word is a curiosity, since the absence of a fear of pain seems like it would be quite abnormal.

Tuesday July 22, 2014

Acquisitive – The word acquisitive is neither new to me nor used much by the news media. However, the word acquisitive precisely describes western society's pathological obsession with the acquisition of material things. In other words, it isn't enough to describe western society as materialistic. It is necessary to focus more specifically on western society's insatiable acquisition fever. For much of western society, and specifically the U.S., what passes for “success” is often measured purely by a person’s material wealth, or artificial social status( i.e. Kardashianism),  no matter how culturally devoid and vapid the person, within the devolution of a "having the most toys" society.

Monday July 7, 2014

Hagiography - Mass media has a way of either deifying or vilifying people, often in a way that defies the balanced reality of the subject being discussed. For example, often when someone is the victim of a serious crime, in the media, their families' tend to remember them only in saintly terms. Recently there was an article in the media in which the famous journalist Glenn Greenwald called the NBC news anchor Brian Williams a "top hagiographer". In modern usage hagiography is the practice of describing someone in unrealistically glowing terms, eliminating all negatives from the chronical of the subject's life. Historically, hagiography began as the literal means by which the lives of canonized people were written about in purely saintly terms.

Monday June 30, 2014

Caliphate - With the news this week about the uprising of radical Islamists in Iraq by a violent group called ISIS, a word I had seen before appeared in articles about the radical Islamists, has been appearing in articles about the burgeoning new Middle East civil war. A caliphate describes a form of fundamentalist Islamic theocracy that is controlled by Muslim religious leader called a caliph. This despotic fundamentalist form of Muslim government rules by dictatorship and the brutal Sharia Law.

Sunday June 22, 2014

Ingluvies - This word was used in the second round of the 2012 national spelling bee. It is the crop, or widened part of the esophagus in many mollusks, insects, and birds, which accumulates, stores, and sometimes begins chemically processing food. In flies, butterflies, and other insects that use liquid food, the ingluvies is a sac mounted on a stalk. In bees the fermentative processing of flower nectar into honey takes place in the ingluvies. The expanded portions of the esophagus in annelid worms, nematodes, and nemerteans are also called ingluvies (paraphrased from a free, open source, online dictionary).

Wednesday May 30, 2012

Refactoring - A newfangled, probably very appropriate, term of art, for modern, often automated, code optimization processes, often used with pseudo-code compiled, and JIT compiled, software language systems. A notable software engineer, Martin Fowler, written a book about, and has assembled a web site devoted to the topic,, that provides detailed information about the subject of refactoring, do do other internet resources.

Thursday May 17, 2012

Sozzled - A rather fun way of describing someone as either drunk, or acting as though they were intoxicated, even if they aren't. Apparently, this word has a slang origin, seemingly evolved from forms of British dialect.

Sunday May 13, 2012

Cursorily - This variation of the more common version of this word - cursory - simply arose in general verbal usage, and seemed as though it would be a nice addition here. Many definitions seem to attribute a pejorative connotation to cursory activity. However, sometimes an overview oriented review of something seems appropriate, sometimes due to time constraints, or as a preface to a second, more in depth coverage of something, after a breadth first perusal the cursorily evaluates something.

Saturday May 5, 2012

Flibbertigibbet - A word that originated in Middle English to describe locaquious, chatty, impish, silly, people. The term flibbertigibbet even appears in Shakespeare as the name of one of his characters.

Saturday May 5, 2012

Corium - A name for the congealed lava that is a mixture of uranium, fission by-product heavy metals, and sand, that forms after a meltdown in a graphite core nuclear reactor with a sand filled secondary reactor container. This uranium and sand mixture, especially in its congealed form, has also been dubbed Chernobylite.

Tuesday May 1, 2012