Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Word Nerd: Miscellany


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The word bank is beginning to burst forth once again with the many marvelous lexiconical delights gathered. Time to set a few free to frolic unfettered and perhaps adopted by word discerners, like you.

yakka: work, especially hard work. Teaching these days is yakka, yakka, yakka.

gnomon: the raised part of a sundial that casts the shadow. It’s nice knowing about the gnomon.

ataraxia: a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquility. The last couple of years of covid controversy leads to the need of some ataraxia.

whigmaleerie: a whimsical or fanciful ornament or contrivance; gimmick. Is a whirligig kin to a whigmaleerie?

skookum: large; powerful; impressive. A snookum could be a skookum.

tchotchke: an inexpensive souvenir, trinket. Perhaps a whigmaleerie can be a tchotchke.

wintle: to tumble over; capsize. I would appreciate an Austen heroine to wintle in an appropriate moment.

mussitation: silent movement of the lips in simulation of the movements made in audible speech. It’s more than just talking to one’s self.

armscye: the armhole opening in a garment through which the hand, and then the arm, passes, and to which a sleeve may be attached. So that’s what’s it’s called.

zugzwang: in chess, a situation in which a player is limited to moves that cost pieces or have a damaging positional effect. Does checkers possess such a term?

Definitely an eclectic assortment that deserve finding their way into your personal dictionary. Which words will you wangle into your next conversation?

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4 thoughts on “Word Nerd: Miscellany

  1. Ah. I use tchotchke all the time. Love that word.

    But now I gotta figure out how to use “yakka yakka yakka” in the same sentence as “yada yada yada.” If it’s a quote by Fozzie Bear, perhaps I could also throw in a few “wokka wokka wokkas” in there for good measure.

  2. Absolutely get Fozzie involved. Wokka wokka yada tchotchke-either a cheer or rap song wanting to happen

  3. Unlike yaks, yakkas have no fur
    And unlike gnomons, gnomes just never were
    Ataraxia sounds quite lethal, hon
    But whigmaleeries sound like a lot of fun

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