Monday, December 30, 2013


Zoilist (noun): A person who thoroughly enjoys finding fault with others or in things around him or her.

Say the word out loud to yourself now that you know the meaning and see how many people immediately come to mind (except yourself, of course). That's the really interesting part about it: no true zoilist ever considers him or herself to be one.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Jumentous: Pronounced /dʒuːˈmɛntəs/: Smelling distinctly like horse urine.

Why someone saw fit to create a word that specifically identified horse urine when even humans don't have that consideration remains a mystery. It's also a rather tricky word because it sounds positive and glorious. Imagine being told that you are jumentous (but not knowing the meaning). You would walk away confident that you have an admirer of some sort.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Blesiloquent: To speak with a stutter or a lisp

Was it just a cruel twist of fate that this word would be a challenge to pronounce for those who have a lisp or a stutter?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Bever (noun): A snack between meals.

"The problem with bevers is that they end up containing more calories than meals."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Jiffle (verb): To fidget or shuffle restlessly

An easy word to remember because it sounds like a combination of the words "fidget" and shuffle."

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Bumbledom (noun): The petty actions and mannerisms of pompous but inefficient government officials.

Easy to remember because it's not difficult to envision bumbling fools where you hear this word -- making it a nice noun option to a common adjective.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Balbutiate (verb): To stammer or stutter

And yet, try saying this word quickly, over and over, and try not to stutter or stammer.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Aprosexia (noun): Medical term describing an almost complete inability to focus or sustain attention.

This word is notable for the fact that it is the most boring term to contain the word "sex."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Abligurition (verb): Spending a ridiculously large amount of money on food.

This word is now considered obsolete by the Oxford English Dictionary, which is unfortunate because of the advent of organic food co-ops and stores such as Whole Foods, abligurition has almost become an American way of life.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Wheeple (verb): When someone attempts a strong and shrill whistle but the result is weak and subdued.

An interesting word whose first syllable actually sounds like a weak whistle.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Pyknic (noun): Characterized by broadness of girth; dense or stocky. Often in tandem with a short, rotund stature.

How easy is it to remember that the word pyknic describes what happens if you have one too many lavish picnics?

Monday, July 1, 2013


Tittynope (noun): A small quantity of  something left over such as uneaten meat on the side of a plate, or dregs of beer left in the glass.

Admit it, you were thinking it was something else. Such a gutter-mind.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Antapology (Noun): The reply (either positive or negative) to an apology. Many people sometimes fear the antapology even more than making an apology.

"There's nothing worse than saying you're sorry and then waiting for an antapology that never arrives."

Monday, June 10, 2013


Thumbo (noun): An error (usually spelling-related) committed in a text message sent from a mobile device or smart phone.

Though not yet an "official" word in the dictionary, thumbo is expected to be adopted within the next year or so. The idea is that typo is acceptable as a word for an error committed while typing using a keyboard, whereas a thumbo occurs when typing using the miniscule keyboards found on smartphones. These keyboards are so small that most people are able to only use their thumbs to hammer out messages in texts.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Dactylion (noun): The tip of one's middle finger.

"I wasn't sure if he was simply showing me his dactylion or intended to insult me."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Nihilarian (noun): One who does useless work; practicing matters of no importance.

This is an interesting word because it comes from the Latin nihil meaning "nothing." A nihilist (a philosophical term)  is one who argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. But if it's his or her work that is without meaning, purpose, or value, he or she is described as a nihilarian.

Which begs the question, is it possible to be an overworked nihilarian and yet not be a nihilist?

Discuss amongst yourselves...

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Peenge (verb): To complain in a whiney voice.

This word sounds like what it is -- there is just no way that a word like peenge could mean forceful or aggressive.

"The editor was getting sick of the author's constant peenging about royalties."

Friday, April 26, 2013


Mytacism: Excessive or wrong use of the sound of the letter m.

Roman grammarians seeking to classify vitia ("errors in language") borrowed this term from the Greek mytakismos (my refers to the letter mu).

One of the most egregious examples of mytacism is when people say "ok" by adding an m-sound at the start so it is pronounced "mmmmkay," or when they say "bye" by doing the same and so pronouncing the word as "mmmmbye."

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Misomaniac (noun): Someone who hates everything and everyone. A person who values nothing and holds almost everything in contempt.

I know, I thought it referred to someone with a real addiction to a particular type of Japanese soup.

"I hear that Berrett-Koehler's Editorial Managing Director is just a bitter and angry guy -- a real misomaniac."

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Sesquipedalian (adjective): Characterized by long words; long winded.

How ironic that a word that describes long-winded wordiness is in itself long-winded.

"Many authors resort to sesquipedalian language to mask the fact that they don't know what they're talking about."

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Abibliophobia (noun): The fear of running out of having reading material.

You may laugh at this, but many people experience milder forms of this condition every day. For example, if you are a voracious reader and you commence a long plane journey only to realize you accidentally left behind all your books, you will experience a mild form of abibliophobia.

You will always recognize the abibliophobic personality at a breakfast table. He or she is the one who momentarily panics when there is no newspaper or magazine in sight and then proceeds to read the contents of the cereal box.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Snollygloster (noun): One (usually a politician) who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles.

"Not all authors are keen on changing the world for the better, some are just snollyglosters looking to line their own pockets (but so are some publishers)."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Psithurism (noun): The sound of wind in the trees including the rustling of leaves.

"If you like the outdoors and long for psithurism, don't live in the city."

Friday, January 25, 2013


Batrachophagous (adj.): One who eats frogs, specifically.

"Our book Eat That Frog! doesn't actually encourage people to be batrachophagous but rather to see consuming frogs as an analogy for getting difficult tasks done."

Monday, January 21, 2013


Unclubbable (adjective): A person who is not easy to interact with socially: a solitary person with whom fellowship is difficult.

This is a very easy term to remember because the word sounds like it's describing someone you can't go out to clubs with because their lack of social skills.

"Editors are an unclubbable lot -- they tend to go to social events and just mill around in the corners looking awkward."

Friday, January 11, 2013


Borborygmus (noun): The rumbling sound made by gas moving through intestines.

This word is interesting more for the fact that the first two syllables actually sound like they are mimicking the sound of a rumbling stomach.  

"The borborygmus emanating from the managing editor's gut region signaled that it was well past lunch time."