Weird Words

Weird Word: Jitney

by on Dec.16, 2013, under Weird Words, Writing

Jitney

Noun

  • A small bus or minibus which typically operates service on a fixed route, sometimes scheduled.
  • An unlicensed taxi cab.
  • A shared-ride taxi.
  • A small coin, a nickel.
  • Very inexpensive.
  • A fraudulent arrangement whereby a broker who has direct access to an exchange executes trades on behalf of a broker who doesn’t.

Example Usage:

It was a jitney, that was it is an inexpensive ride, had space enough for two, and was completely untraceable, that would likely get them there.

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

Here’s a word that has no idea what it wants to mean. Sure half of the meanings relate to some kind of public transportation but each meaning is very different. I also have the distinct impression this word is a British word, even though its etymology is very specifically American, relating to a 5-cent coin used for busses and taxis.

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Weird Word: Tarradiddle

by on Dec.09, 2013, under Weird Words, Writing

Tarradiddle

Noun

  • A trivial lie.
  • Silly talk or writing; humbug.

Example Usage:

“You, Madam, are just full of tarradiddles and flattery, but please don’t think I want you to stop!”

SourceWiktionary, World Wide Words

Commentary:

Starting our little series on words stolen from the website World Wide Words is tarradiddle! If you’ve never visited, the World Wide Words is not unlike these posts, but with far more information, and in my personal opinion, has a better collection of odd and strange words in some cases. Hence why we’re stealing some of their words! Tarradiddle is one of those highly amusing words to both read and say and I feel fits its meanings very well. I hope you enjoy it!

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Weird Word: Denouement

by on Dec.02, 2013, under Weird Words, Writing

Denouement

Noun

  • The conclusion or resolution of a plot.

Example Usage:

This was not the denouement of her quest, if she had anything to say about it. Sure, the prince was rescued, the dragon saved, and the kingdom lay in ruins, but there was one thing yet unfinished; make the villains pay for what they did to her hair!

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

Anybody else read denouncement every time they look at denouement? Me too! But I’ve fallen in love with this word. A word meaning the end of a plot. I assumed such a word existed but now both of us know what it is! We just need to work it into normal conversation. There is a footnote that this word is often used metaphorically, which I find interesting as well. Calling something that isn’t a denouement a denouement to impart some sort of meaning that it finished off something seems difficult to manage. Probably only because this word has likely fallen out of common usage.

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Weird Word: Avaricious

by on Nov.25, 2013, under Weird Words, Writing

Avaricious

Adjective

  • Actuated by avarice; greedy of gain; immoderately desirous of accumulating property.

Other Forms:

  • avarice
  • avariciously
  • avariciousness

Example Usage:

He stared at the device in a manner that was either covetous or avaricious but was quiet decidedly not both, as explained by expert grammarians when advised of the situation.

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

Just to mix it up, I’ve provided a word which is actually related to the word you believe it would be, that is avarice. I’ve included it because I’m no sure I’ve every actually seen the word used and I like how it looks. It is effectively a synonym for covetous, except that when one looks up the definition of covetous we find that it means inordinately desirous instead of immoderately. I suspect that means that avaricious wins, but I’m sure plenty of people disagree.

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Weird Word: Furtive

by on Oct.28, 2013, under Articles, Weird Words, Writing

Furtive

Adjective

  1. Stealthy
  2. Exhibiting guilty or evasive secrecy.

Other Forms:

  • furtively
  • furtiveness

Example Usage:

“You think I didn’t see the furtive glances you kept giving each other? I see everything!” she screamed, waving the plasma caster at the couple, who cringed into each other, drawing her attention from the furtively escaping man in the far corner.

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

I’ve heard, or rather read, this word before but its exact meaning has escaped me all these years. For some reason context had chosen a meaning similar to shrewd or quick, rather than stealthy. That aside it is a rather fun word to say which is also why it is appearing in Weird Words.

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Weird Word: Adenoid

by on Oct.21, 2013, under Articles, Weird Words, Writing

Adenoid

Adjective

  • Of or relating to lymphatic glands or lymphoid tissue; lymphoid.

Noun

  • One of two folds of lymphatic tissue covered by ciliated epithelium. They are found in the roof and posterior wall of the nasopharynx at the back of the throat behind the uvula. They may obstruct normal breathing and make speech difficult when swollen, a condition often called adenitis.

Alternate Forms:

  • adenoidal

Example Usage:

“Stop,” he croaked. The doctor paused at the door and looked back over her shoulder and say, “You probably need to get those adenoids  looked at.” and then walked out.

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

This is a weird word. Most words relating to anatomy are pretty weird. This is basically a more specific word for what we call the Tonsils, which is kind of odd word but not nearly as alien sounding. I was drawn to this word by adjective form adenoidal, which is pretty cool world.

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Weird Word: Trenchant

by on Oct.14, 2013, under Articles, Weird Words, Writing

Trenchant

Adjective

  • (obsolete) Fitted to trench or cut; gutting; sharp.
  • (figuratively) Keen; biting; vigorously effective and articulate; severe; as, trenchant wit.

Example Usage:

I found the act quiet trenchant, save for the bit at the end, where they tried to quote Star Wars for an extra laugh; I had never been one to enjoy pandering to a crowd, even if I was one of the crowd.

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

Want to confuse someone? Use the word trenchant. It’ll confuse them most likely because they’ve never heard the word, but assuming they had, which meaning shall we attribute? The obsolete or figurative meaning? A word that literally has no meaning, because the old meaning is obsolete and the new meaning is the opposite of the old meaning and only meant to be used as a metaphor for the quality of a thing. Note I’m using the neoclassical definition of literally here, where I mean figuratively. Confused yet?

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Weird Word: Austerity

by on Oct.07, 2013, under Articles, Weird Words, Writing

Austerity

Noun

  • Severity of manners or life; extreme rigor or strictness; harsh discipline.
  • Freedom from adornment; plainness; severe simplicity.
  • A policy of deficit-cutting, lower spending, and a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided.
  • Sourness and harshness to the taste.

Other Forms:

  • austerities

Example Usage:

“I’ve held myself to the strictest austerity I know,” he said as he settled into the bubble bath, careful not to spill his Chinon.

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

While I imagine most people are familiar with the word austere, I found that austerity has a few more meanings than its root word, which I found interesting. While the root word is very generic, being an adjective, the more specific meanings of the noun is interesting to me. Austerity refers particularly to taste, livelihood, or a particular economic policy, as well as the noun form of the root word. While perhaps not as useful as the word austere, austerity has an austerity I rather like.

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Weird Word: Transfenestrate

by on Sep.23, 2013, under Articles, Weird Words, Writing

Transfenestrate

Verb

  • To eject or throw (someone or something) through a closed window

Other Forms:

  • transfenestrates
  • transfenestrating
  • transfenestrated
  • transfenestration

Example Usage:

As the door continued to swing back and forth, Willa decided she just didn’t feel like the patron had gotten the full experience of visiting Willa’s Bar and Grill while being an asshole, so she walked back out onto the street, marched the man back into the establishment, then proceeded to transfenestrate him, the glass thankfully flying mostly out onto the street.

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

You may remember last week’s Weird word was defenestrate. Well now we have its cousin, transfenestrate! Unlike defenestrate, transfenestrate hasn’t had much lingual shifting over the years, keeping its original meaning of throwing and windows. I find it amusing that the English language has a specific word for throwing people through closed windows. I keep picturing western movies, or bar fights.

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Weird Word: Defenestrate

by on Sep.16, 2013, under Articles, Weird Words, Writing

Defenestrate

Verb

  • To eject or throw (someone or something) from a window
  • To throw out.

Other Forms:

  • defenestrates
  • defenestrating
  • defenestrated
  • defenestration

Example Usage:

The defenestration of several of his ribs from his torso did not improve the chances of his surviving but at this point, he was willing to take any chance he had.

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

While also being fun to say, defenestrate is one of those words I’ve heard in recent memory and I’m pretty sure it was related to biology in some fashion. Because of this I always believed it meant something along the lines of to rip or shred. It’s actual meaning took me by surprise. I also I neglected to include a slang meaning that Wiktionary informed me of, which involves playing on the first meaning. It is a good pun even if I don’t think that definition is popular enough to warrant an entry in dictionaries, even as slang.

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