questionsare you a word nerd?


Snollygoster !!! A very appropriate word nowadays!

"One, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles."

In other words, a politician who will go to any lengths to win public office. I seem to be seeing a LOT of that!

(Plus, it's just a fun word to say.... snollygoster!)


I always like flotsam and jetsam, which is debris that washes ashore.


@blgauthier: I love that one!

My long-term favorite is one that applies to my mother, I'm afraid.

Valetudinarian -- A weak or sickly person, especially one morbidly concerned with his or her health.

Someone who isn't really a hypochondriac, but he has real illnesses, but he OBSESSES over these! Argh! Every conversation with my mother starts like this:

Me: "How are you, Mom?"

Her: "I'm not feeling very good today."

(NEVER does she feel well!)


I've always liked a word that was used in the movie Mary Poppins; Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

I know it is a made-up word but I like it just the same.


I like the word peckish. I used it once, and the people around me were astounded. I don't know, I just think it's a cool word.

I used it in this context: somewhat hungry: By noon we were feeling a bit peckish.

But, I've noticed it also means: rather irritable: He's always a bit peckish after his nap.

And, I can thank for the wonderful definitions and sentences.


@jnissel: I attended some training presented by Disney Management University. I actually won a door prize for saying that word BACKWORDS!


@mattysc: You reminded me that there is a difference between flotsam and jetsam, but I wasn't sure I remembered what that is, so I looked it up. Flotsam is the wreckage from a ship that washes ashore, and jetsam is the stuff that is "jettisoned" or cast overboard by the crew to lighten a ship in rough weather.

Any day when I can learn something new is a good day!


@baybei: That word always reminds me of Buffy. I had to look it up when I heard Spike say it. Great word! I never think to use that one, but I guess people would look at me funny unless I were in England. Hmmm. Maybe I can just say it with a British accent.


Yes, I love words. Always have. If I'm not near a dictionary when I'm reading, I make note of a word I don't know & look it up later. The Kindle has changed that, it has a built-in dictionary. :-D

My word is discalced. It means barefoot or wearing only sandals (unshod). This word has special meaning to me because my 'mentor' was, indeed, a walking dictionary. It became a sort of challenge to find a word he did not know from memory. When I mentioned discalced to him he asked me to spell it, then said, "There is no such word!" Had to look in his dictionary. I own his personal dictionary now. A prized possession. Albeit very outdated. This was almost 50 years ago. My love for words has not diminished.


My vocabulary is admittedly stagnant, but I have developed a fondness for etymology in recent years. Been considering a small etymological dictionary for a little while, because it's very difficult to find reliable resources online at times.


"Windfall" literally meant a sudden gust of wind, at one time. This would cause trees to fall down, and, in Britain, if it happened to knock down a tree that was earmarked for use by the Royal Navy, the landowner was allowed to sell the higher quality wood for their own profit. So, "windfall" came to mean a sudden acquisition of wealth.


Also, I have a mild disdain for - ironically - the word "lexicon." Chalk it up to annoyance when I was studying for the SAT in high school.


@snoopjedi and @gmwhit: You might enjoy a book written by an old friend of mine, Norman German. It's available on Amazon at It's also available for Kindle. I need to find that one. More entertaining than a dictionary, really. Norman is a word nerd, too.

I see that the price is way down on this. Guess I need to post it!


I always liked onomatopoeia because of the way it rolls off the tongue, and crwth because my HS English teacher challenged me to find it in the dictionary after I used it in an essay and he counted it as incorrect. I won. :) At the time it was the only word in the English dictionary that contained no vowels. I haven't checked since 30+ years later.


@jsimsace: I love onomatopoeia, too, and for the same reason! (And it will probably keep rolling around in my head when I try to go to sleep tonight, dang it!).

Crwth? I had to read the definition (thanks for the link!). Excellent word! Now I need to find a way to add THAT one to a conversation.

Oh, and I added the deal on my friend's book. Now I guess I need to let him know. I bought the Kindle edition when it first came out (at a much higher price) and I would love to have a solid copy, It's really targeting high school and maybe college kids studying for SATs or GREs. If you buy the Kindle edition, be sure to read it on a computer or Kindle Fire. Some of the graphs and graphics are wasted on a regular Kindle.


Modicum. I was ridiculed for using it today.

Outside of common language I have to stick with floccinaucinihilipilification. Which still comes up as a misspelling using Word.


@belyndag: Love Valetudinarian. I am in the same boat when conversing with my 89 year old grandma... her legs hurt when she goes swimming so she has to take a pill.......................................


This is dumb, but I learned from Lost Beauties of the English Language that the original plural of shoe was shoon. And that is my favorite word. The only place I have ever seen it used was a poem by William Hope Hodgson titled "Shoon of the Dead." I think he read the same book.


@mrsbeny: Right. Gotta love our valetudinarians. Any excuse for a pill. (My mother takes about 25/day.)


After reading through this thread, the grammar police showed up; did I miss something, or did you mean "backwards" in this comment? I no that nobodys perfekt tho. ;)


I know I will later think of others, but the first word that came to mind was antidisestablishmentarianism. Remember getting bonus points for that one on the 6th grade spelling test. It was the bonus word all year, and even by then end of the year no one could spell it except me.

In French class, it was pamplemousse (grapefruit).


I use to confuse semantics and pedantic, but I love them both because I kind of hate them both.

Semantics is like the study of words and their relationship to a sentence or idea. For example: "Although you raise a good point, debating semantics is hardly a constructive activity."

Pedantic is an abhorrent clinging to small details and could be used in reference to word police or an ivory tower scholar: "Sorry to be pedantic but swapping out an adverb for an adjective gave me shivers."

Would it be correct next time I'm around these people to groan disdainfully, roll my eyes and say, "Ugh, semantics are so pedantic..."? Because I may have to use that sentence if it makes sense...

*Example sentences for semantics and pedantic are from


@jsimsace: I did mean "backwards" and I thought I typed it that way. LOL! Ah, well.


@bnbsouthworth: Pamplemousse! I LOVE it! I googled it and found restaurants, bistros, bands and boutiques by this name. I guess it's just such a fun word that nobody cares WHAT it means!

@frazelle: "semantics are so pedantic" LOL!!!!


I was at a meeting of about 15 people, every one of them holding advanced degrees (as opposed to my couple of years of college). We moved onto a topic that wasn't on the agenda, and one of them actually had the paperwork pertaining to that subject with them. I said, "You must be prescient". Everyone looked at me like I'd grown an extra head. Then there was a brief, jocular discussion of my large vocabulary and tendency to use uncommon words in conversation. When I was a kid I made a habit of restraining my vocabulary to fit in, but amongst my much better educated peers at work I feel comfortable using interesting words. Although I actually had to get out a dictionary once to prove to an education professional that there was such a word as "capacious" after I used it in conversation and he thought I'd made it up.


@jsimsace: It is Welsh? They are very sparing with their vowels. I often joke that when they stood in line for language, the Welsh took too many consonants and the Hawaiians took too many vowels. They need to do some trading.

My favorite observation about the English language is a quote by James Nicoll: “English doesn't borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over and goes through their pockets for loose grammar.”


@moondrake: HA! I just added that one to my favorite quotes list. So very true!''

Your story reminded me of a similar one I had from work. I wrote a report for our CEO and used the word "efficacy" in it (correctly, I might add). He called me down in front of the COO and CFO, correcting me for mispelling "efficiency ." Of course, HE was wrong (which he didn't appreciate but he was an a**hole and was fired by our Board of Directors not long after this).

By the way, if you also like made up words, the edited word I used above isn't what you thought it was:

ASKHOLE: A person who constantly asks for your advice, yet always does the opposite of what you told him.

Both versions of this word actually applied in the case of this CEO.


I must have this subject on the brain this morning, as I just referred to one of my friends as a flibbertigibbet when describing him to a co-worker. Who gave me a really funny look and said, "A what?"