Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Fungible: adjective: Replaceable of exchangeable for a similar item.

Though not as obscure as other strange English words, fungible looks deceptively like fungus and edible, which might put you in the mind of edible fungi. This word is actually an economic term meaning replaceable or exchangeable for another of its kind.  Currency is a fungible commodity; you can use any $20 bill to pay for a $20 item.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Fagin (noun): an adult who instructs and involves others (usually children) in crime.

This is a prime example of a character's name from a novel that became a word. Fagin is a petty criminal in Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" who manages and trains a band of thieving young boys.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Eutrapely (noun): Pleasantness in conversation. This is one of the seven moral virtues that Aristotle enumerated.

Is it a sign of the times, perhaps, that this word is now obsolete whereas there are no shortage of words to describe unpleasant conversation?