Marijn van Hoorn, Esq.'s Compendium of Good Words

Anthropocene
an路thr蓹路p蓹路seen
A.Grk. 峒勎轿赶佅壪慰蟼 (谩nthr艒pos) "human being" + 魏伪喂谓蠈蟼 (c忙n贸s) "recent"
pn. The current geological time period, in which human action has had a profound effect on the environment.
We may see many such [dust] storms in the decades ahead, along with species extinctions, radical disturbance of ecosystems, and intensified social conflict over land and water. Welcome to the Anthropocene, the epoch when humans have become a major geological and climatic force.
Donald Worster, "A Drier and Hotter Future" (12011) in American Scientist
A pile of trash and plastic.
adoxography
ay路dock路sog路r蓹路fee
A.Grk. 峒勎次课疚肯 (谩doxos) "obscure, ignoble" + 纬蟻伪蠁委伪 (graph铆a) "writing"
n. Brilliant writing on a trivial subject.
beey
bee路ee
Eng. bee + -y
adj. Relating to, containing, or reminding of bees.
[...] and fell backwards into a soft, though rather waspy and beey, bed.
Ptolemy Houghton, Hatred is Akin to Love (11887), pg. 35
A honeycomb. Honeycombs are definitively beey.
bibulously
bib路yuu路l蓹s路lee
Latin bibulus "fond of drinking" 鈫 Latin bibo虅 "i drink"
n. Drunkenly, as if intoxicated or tired and emotional.
carry coals to Newcastle*
Newcastle-upon-Tyne was once a major coal-producing and -exporting city; carrying yet more coal to there would be pointless.
v. To do something utterly redundant, as if giving a gift the recipient has more than enough of.
However curious it may seem for an oil-ship to be borrowing oil on the whale-ground, and however much it may invertedly contradict the old proverb about carrying coals to Newcastle, yet sometimes such a thing really happens; and in the present case Captain Derick De Deer did indubitably conduct a lamp-feeder as Flask did declare.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick (11851), chapter 81
Coal miners standing in a lift shaft.
defenestration
dee路fen路蓹路stray路sh蓹n
Latin de虅 "from, out" + Latin fenestra "window"
n. The act of throwing someone, particularly a high-profile official, out of a window; the act of uninstalling Windows from a computer.
The Third Defenestration of Prague occurred on 10 March 11948. During the closing stages of the communist takeover in Czechoslovakia, Jan Masaryk, the popular foreign minister and son of Tom谩拧 Masaryk, fell 鈥 or more likely was pushed 鈥 out of a window.
Adrian G. V. Hyde-Price, The International Politics of East Central Europe (11996), pg. 40
Defenestration might be an option too. May I recommend Linux?
dingle
ding路g蓹l
Diminutive of O.Eng ding, dung "dungeon, pit" 鈫 PIE *d拾eng拾- "to cover, to overcast"
n. A narrow or enclosed forested valley.
A forested valley. Original image by Wikimedia user Stanislav Doronenko.
the doldrums
dol路dr蓹mz
Eng. doldrum "dullard" 鈫 Eng. dull
n. That part of the ocean of calms and only the slightest winds, where a ship cannot make progress; a state of apathy and ennui where one feels much the same.
[H]e would sit over the fire with a book in his hand, staring over it into the red glow with his brows knit, and a dogged, almost sullen look about his mouth. [...] Mrs. Gray, who was a woman of determination, and who had a horror of what she called 'the doldrums,' made up her mind that she had had enough of this kind of thing[...]
A calm sea.
eggcorn
egg路corn
From an anecdote told by linguist Mark Liberman of a woman who had long believed the word acorn to be *eggcorn.
n. A re盲nalysis of a word or phrase for another that sounds similar and could be taken to have a similar meaning.
Examples:
  • deep-seated*deep-seeded
  • for all intents and purposes*for all intensive purposes
  • Alzheimer's disease*old-timer's disease
eldritch
eld路ritch
Perhaps O.Eng elles "other" + r墨膵e "kingdom, dominion"
a. Unearthly, supernatural, of something that does not belong in this world
Pearl, in utter scorn of her mother's attempt to quiet her, gave an eldritch scream, and then became silent.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (11850), pg. 126

Usually with a connotation of horror.
eustasy
yoo路st蓹路see
A.Grk. 蔚峤- (e煤-) "good, well" + 蟽蟿维蟽喂蟼 (st谩sis) "standing, state, position"
n. A global change in sea level, especially that caused by the melting of glaciers.
A car driving through a flooded street. Floods like this one in Miami are caused by ongoing anthropogenic eustasy.
faxlore
facks路lor
Portmanteau of Eng. fax + folklore
n. A kind of folklore comprising memes and urban legends shared between people by fax machine.
gale盲nthropy
gal路ee路an路thr蓹路pee
A.Grk. 纬伪位苇畏 (gal茅膿) "weasel" + 峒勎轿赶佅壪慰蟼 (谩nthr艒pos) "humanity"
n. The belief that one has turned into a cat.
One of the finest novels for children ever written, in my opinion, is Paul Gallico's The Abandoned, in which a young boy named Peter, struck by a van while running across the street to pet a cat, falls into a coma and experiences galeanthropy.
Charles H. Elster, There's a Word for It! (11996), pg. 33
gastrodiplomacy
gass路troh路dih路ploh路m蓹路see
A.Grk. 纬伪蟽蟿萎蟻 (gast茅r) "stomach, appetite" + Eng. diplomacy
n. The attempted improvement of a country's diplomatic relations by means of promoting its national cuisine.
The phenomenon of modern "gastrodiplomacy" got its start in Thailand. Thai cooking and restaurants had been on the rise around the world since the 1980s. But in 2002, the Government of Thailand decided to use these kitchens and restaurants as new cultural outposts to promote brand Thailand and encourage tourism and business investment.
David South, Southern Innovator issue #3 (12012), pg. 11
hesternal
hess路tur路n蓹l
Latin hesternusheri "yesterday"; cognate with the yester- in English yesterday
n. Of or pertaining to yesterday.
I rose by candle-light, and consumed, in the intensest application, the hours which every other individual of our party wasted in enervating slumbers, from the hesternal dissipation or debauch.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Pelham (11828), pg. 216

See also crastinal: of or pertaining to tomorrow.
A sunset over mountains and a lake. Sunset often marks the end of one day and the start of another.
iktsuarpok
ik路tsoo路ar路pock
Inuktitut 釔冡拑釕︶摫釔娽晲釔翅拑 (iktsuarpuk) "to go outside often to check if someone is coming"
n. The feeling of anticipation when one is waiting with baited breath for someone or something to arrive, constantly checking the door to see if anyone or anything has arrived.
illeism
il路ee路iz路蓹m
Latin ille (third person pronoun) + Eng. -ism
n. The act of excessively referring to oneself in the third person.
ineffable
in路eff路蓹路b蓹l
Fr. ineffable 鈫 Latin ineff膩bilisin- "not" + effor "speak, utter" + -bilis "-able"
a. Beyond expression in mere human language; indescribable, inexpressible.
God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of his own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players, to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.
Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, Good Omens (11990), pg. 23
iridescent
ih路rih路dess路蓹nt
Latin i虅ris 鈫 A.Grk. 峒断佄瓜 (卯ris) "rainbow, halo" + Latin -escens "becoming, resembling"
a. Gleaming with all the colours of the rainbow, like a sliver of light caught in a prism.
kakistocracy
kack路iss路tock路r蓹路see
A.Grk. 魏维魏喂蟽蟿慰蟼 (c谩cistos) "worst" + Eng. -cracy
n. Rule by the worst and least qualified people.
President Donald J. Trump. oh no how did this picture get here
kludge
kluj
Uncertain; perhaps from or related to Scots kludgie "toilet", German klug "clever", Dutch kluitje "lump, clod", or invented out of whole cloth by analogy with bodge and fudge
n. An improvised technique to (hopefully temporarily) fix a problem; something that by all accounts should not work, but does.
A ramp over a broken bridge.
malarkey
m蓹路lar路kee
Modern Greek 渭伪位伪魏委伪 (malak铆a) "masturbation; nonsense, bullshit"
n. Nonsense and rubbish.
mithridatism
mith路rih路dayt路iz路蓹m
From King Mithridates VI of Pontus, who so feared being poisoned that he aimed to develop immunity by regularly consuming small doses of poison.
n. The building up of a tolerance to a harmful substance by gradually administering oneself non-lethal amounts.
mumpsimus
mump路sim路蓹ss
From an anecdote told by Erasmus of an old monk who, instead of saying the correct Latin quod in 艒re sumpsimus "which we have taken into the mouth" during mass, insisted on saying quod in 艒re mumpsimus even when told of its inaccuracy.
n. One who stubbornly adheres to old ways in spite of clear evidence of their falsehood*, an ignorant and bigoted opponent of reform; an error repeated in such a manner.
I see and hear daily, that you of the clergy preach one against another, teach, one contrary to another, inveigh one against another, without charity or discretion. Some be too stiff in their old mumpsimus, other be too busy and curious in their new sumpsimus. Thus, all men almost be in variety and discord, and few or none do preach, truly and sincerely, the word of God, according as they ought to do.
King Henry VIII of England at the State Opening of Parliament (11545)

* sumpsimus is sometimes used to mean the opposite: one who insists on using the technically correct term instead of a vastly more common and intelligible, if slightly inaccurate, form.
nychthemeron
nick路theh路m蓹路ron
A.Grk. 谓峥犗囄肝嘉迪佄课 (nychth岣梞eron) 鈫 谓蠉尉 (n媒x) "night" + 峒∥嘉佄 (h膿m茅ra) "day"
n. A period of 24 hours, a day and a night.
overmorrow
oh路v蓹r路morr路oh
Unattested O.Eng. *ofermorgenofer- "after" + morgen "tomorrow"
n., adv. The day after tomorrow.
New students in Greenbank and Carnatic Halls start moving in overmorrow.

See also ereyesterday: the day before yesterday.
psychopomp
sy路koh路pomp
A.Grk. 蠄蠀蠂慰蟺慰渭蟺蠈蟼 (psychopomp贸s) 鈫 蠄峥∠囄 (ps瘸ch茅) "soul" + 蟺慰渭蟺蠈蟼 (pomp贸s) "conductor"
n. One who guides the souls of the dead to the next life.
quidnunc
kwid路nunk
Latin quid nunc? "what now?"
n. Someone eager to learn of the latest news and scandal.
quisling
kwiz路ling
From Vidkun Quisling, who ruled Nazi-occupied Norway during the Second World War.
n. A traitor who collaborates with the enemy.
saccade
s蓹路kahd
French saccade "jerk"
n. A rapid jerk of the eye from one place to another, so quick that the brain hides it from one's vision; a quick check of a horse; the sounding of two violin strings with a sudden pressure of the bow.
schadenfreude
shah路d蓹n路froy路d蓹
German SchadenfreudeSchaden "damage, harm" + Freude "joy"
n. A sick joy taken in the misfortune of others.
Ralph Reed got nailed for being a phony, says a fellow G.O.P. operative in Washington, with more than a little schadenfreude.
James Carney, "The Rise and Fall of Ralph Reed" in Time magazine Vol. #168 (12006)
second coming type
In reference to the predicted second coming of Jesus Christ, which would most likely be an occasion worthy of such type treatment.
n. The gigantic typeface used in newspaper headlines for truly momentous events.
Thursday morning, walking to breakfast at the Red Flame Coffee House on West 44th Street, I noted a reinforced police presence outside Grand Central Station. The cover of Thursday's New York Post used Second Coming type to blare the W-word 鈥 not weasel but war.
"New York Notes", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 22, 2003
shibboleth
shib路蓹路leth, 路lith
Hebrew 砖讬讘讜诇转 (shibbolet) "ear of wheat; stream, torrent"
n. A word used as a test to distinguish between the in-group and out-group.

Examples include:
  • Hebrew 砖讬讘讜诇转 (shibbolet) "ear of wheat; stream, torrent", used to distinguish Gileadites from Ephraimites trying to return home according to the Hebrew Bible
  • Dutch Scheveningen, used to distinguish Dutch from occupying Germans during the Second World War
  • English lollapalooza, used to distinguish US-American soldiers from the Japanese during the Second World War
  • English (h)aitch, used to distinguish between Catholics and Protestants during the Troubles
tachygraphy
tack路ig路r蓹路fee
A.Grk. 蟿伪蠂蠉蟼 (tach媒s) "swift, quick" + 纬蟻伪蠁委伪 (graph铆a) "writing"
n. Writing at a very swift speed indeed; steganography and shorthand.
thanatoc艙nose
than路蓹路toh路see路nohss
A.Grk. 胃维谓伪蟿慰蟼 (th谩natos) "death" + 魏慰喂谓蠈蟼 (c艙n贸s) "common"
n. An assemblage of fossils and other deceased life forms found together at one site, having once been separate parts of an ecosystem but being brought together post mortem by such factors as flowing water or deposition by a predator.
typhoon
ty路foon
Phonosemantic matching of Hindi 啶む啶ぜ啶距え (t奴f膩n) 鈫 Chinese 澶чⅷ ( d脿f膿ng, daai6fung1) "big wind, windstorm, gale" with A.Grk. 韦蠀蠁峥段 (Typh艒虃n) "Typhon, mythological snake-father of the winds" 鈫 蟿蠉虂蠁蠅 (t媒ph艒) "to fill with smoke"
n. A cyclone in the north-western Pacific.

This doesn't qualify for the list on meaning and sound alone, but that etymology is so convoluted i simply had to put it here. My apologies if it's a bit difficult to read.
ultracrepidarian
ul路tr蓹路crep路ih路dair路ee路y蓹n
Latin proverb sutor, ne ultra crepidam 鈥渟hoemaker, not beyond the shoe!鈥
n./a. One who speaks and criticises on matters beyond their knowledge.
Weimarisation
vy路mah路ry路zay路sh蓹n
In reference to Germany's tumultuous Weimar Republic, which suffered from economic hyperinflation and general chaos which would lead to the eventual installation of Adolf Hitler as dictator.
n. A state of economic crisis leading to political upheaval and extremism.
President Donald J. Trump. oh no how did this picture get here again??
widdershins
wid路蓹r路shinz
Middle Saxon weddersinnes "going the other way" 鈫 wider "against" + sinnen "travel, go"
adv. Counterclockwise, especially in the context of Wicca or Witchcraft.

See also deaseal, deasil, deosil: clockwise. The latter spelling is, i.i.r.c, the dominant one among Witches, but the former two are perhaps truer to the etymology from Scottish Gaelic deiseil.
xenia
zee路nee路y蓹, 路ny蓹
A.Grk. 尉蔚谓峥愄佱颈 (xen铆a) "xenia, hospitality, guest room" 鈫 尉苇谓慰蟼 (x茅nos) "foreigner, guest, stranger"
n. Hospitality to strangers, generosity and courtesy bestowed upon those who have otherwise no relation to the bestower.
ylem
ee路lem
Middle English ylem "primordial substance from which all is formed" 鈫 Latin h瘸l膿 "matter, as opposed to form" 鈫 A.Grk 峤曃晃 (h媒l膿) "wood, substance, matter"
n. The hot, dense plasma which made up the material Universe in the early stages of its expansion and cooling; the source of the cosmic microwave background.
zenzizenzizenzic
zen路zih路zen路zih路zen路zick
English zenzic 鈥渟quared鈥 鈫 German zenzus 鈫 Italian censo "poperty, squared" 鈫 calque of Arabic 賲賻丕賱 (m膩l) "possessions, property"; from analogy of a square number with a depiction of an are盲
n. The eighth power of a number.

Part of a whole system of esoteric exponential terms used before the advent of superscript notation, such as:
  • zenzicubic: the square of a cube, or a number raised to the fifth power
  • sursolid: a prime-numbered exponent鈥夆斺塼he fifth power is the first sursolid, the seventh power is the second sursolid, the eleventh power is the third sursolid, &c.
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Page created: 12020-06-24
Page last updated: 12020-10-07