dipsomani·ac
[dip-suh-mey-nee-ak, -soh-]
noun
a person with an irresistible craving for alcoholic drink.

apostasy
[uh-pos-tuh-see]
noun, plural a·pos·ta·sies.
a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc.

vox populi
[voks pop-yuh-lahy]
noun
the voice of the people; popular opinion.

VOX POPULI VOX DEI
: the voice of the people is the voice of God

spruik \sprook\, verb:

To make or give a speech, especially extensively; spiel.

He started to spruik again, but I managed to get in first.
— C.E. Murphy, Raven Calls

Don’t go into your spruik for me. I don’t care what words you call it.
— A. E. Martin, The Outsiders

Spruik is Australian slang that arose in the early 1900s. It is of unknown origin.

altiloquent \awl-TIL-uh-kwuhnt\, noun:

High-flown or pretentious language.

He remembered that the politeness seemed too elaborate, too florid, altiloquent to the extent of insincerity.
— Holman Day, All-Wool Morrison

The meaning of the music was made further explicit by explanations in his own, altiloquent (but purposefully avoiding the technical) Wagnerian prose, wrapped solicitously around the Goethe passages.
— Alessandra Comini, The Changing Image of Beethoven

Altiloquent stems from the Latin roots atli meaning “high” and loquentem meaning “speaking.”

equivocate \ verb (used without object), e·quiv·o·cat·ed, e·quiv·o·cat·ing.

to use ambiguous or unclear expressions, usually to avoid commitment or in order to mislead; prevaricate or hedge: When asked directly for his position on disarmament, the candidate only equivocated.

bromide
[broh-mahyd or, for 1, broh-mid]
noun
3.
a platitude or trite saying.
4.
a person who is platitudinous and boring.

palladium \puh-LEY-dee-uhm\, noun:

1. Anything believed to provide protection or safety; safeguard.

irriguous \ih-RIG-yoo-uhs\, adjective:

Well-watered, as land.

approbate \AP-ruh-beyt\, verb:

To approve officially.

macaronic \mak-uh-RON-ik\, adjective:

1. Composed of a mixture of languages.
2. Composed of or characterized by Latin words mixed with vernacular words or non-Latin words given Latin endings.
3. Mixed; jumbled.

tony \TOH-nee\, adjective:

High-toned; stylish.

cumshaw \KUHM-shaw\, noun:

A present; gratuity; tip.

apotropaic \ap-uh-truh-PEY-ik\, adjective:

Intended to ward off evil.

agley \uh-GLEE\, adjective:

Off the right line; awry; wrong.

ephebe \ih-FEEB\, noun:

A young man.

sylph \silf\, noun:

1. A slender, graceful woman or girl.
2. (In folklore) one of a race of supernatural beings supposed to inhabit the air.

zeitgeber \TSAHYT-gey-ber\, noun:

An environmental cue, as the length of daylight, that helps to regulate the cycles of an organism’s biological clock.

grouse \grous\, verb:

1. To grumble; complain.

fugitive \FYOO-ji-tiv\, adjective:

1. Fleeting, transitory, elusive.
2. Having taken flight, or run away.
3. Changing color as a result of exposure to light and chemical substances present in the atmosphere, in other pigments, or in the medium.
4. Dealing with subjects of passing interest, as writings; ephemeral.
5. Wandering, roving, or vagabond.

I started to write about Sean, and the writing, like a searchlight sweeping wildly, almost caught my fugitive feelings.
— Edmund White, The Beautiful Room Is Empty

I fill my own glass now, and raise it, unspeaking: to her? to us? to the spirit of fugitive love? Whatever it is I mean, she nods as if to say she understands.
— Vikram Seth, An Equal Music

First used by Shakespeare in Antony & Cleopatra, fugitive stems from the Latin word fugere meaning “to flee.”

luxate \LUHK-seyt\, verb:

To put out of joint; dislocate.

cicatrix \SIK-uh-triks\, noun:

1. New tissue that forms over a wound.

pother \POTH-er\, noun:

1. A heated discussion, debate, or argument; fuss; to-do.
2. Commotion; uproar.
3. A choking or suffocating cloud, as of smoke or dust.

catechize \KAT-i-kahyz\, verb:

1. To question closely.
2. To instruct orally by means of questions and answers, especially in Christian doctrine.
3. To question with reference to belief.

He sent her off when the dial made it five o’clock every fourth Sunday—for we had service only once a month, the parson having a church at Brampton, where he lived, and another as well, which made it the more wicked of us to play truant—but whether she got there early or late, or got there at all, he’d never ask, let alone catechize her about the sermon.
— Mary Webb, Precious Bane

Aunt Bessie tried to catechize her about Erik’s disappearance, and it was Kennicott who silenced the woman…
— Sinclair Lewis, Main Street

moschate \MOS-keyt\, adjective:

Having a musky smell.

Her familiar perfume and moschate odor was overwhelming within the confines of the car, especially with the windows rolled up.
— Charles Ray Willeford, New Hope for the Dead

The plant of the Rio Grande is said by Mr. Schott to exhale a moschate odor.
— William Hemsley Emory, Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, Volume 2, Part 1

conniption \kuh-NIP-shuhn\, noun:

A fit of hysterical excitement or anger.

“Wah!” says Stella-Rondo. I knew she’d cry. She had a conniption fit right there in the kitchen.
— Eudora Welty, “Why I Live at the P.O.” The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty

vernal \VUR-nl\, adjective:

1. Appearing or occurring in spring.
2. Of or pertaining to spring.
3. Appropriate to or suggesting spring; springlike.
4. Belonging to or characteristic of youth.

By and by a bird piped in the garden; the shriek of a swallow made itself heard from a distance; the vernal day was beginning to stir from the light…
— William Dean Howells, A Foregone Conclusion

ruck \ruhk\, noun:

1. A large number or quantity; mass.
2. The great mass of undistinguished or inferior persons or things.

carp \kahrp\, verb:

1. To find fault or complain querulously or unreasonably.

brisance \bri-ZAHNS\, noun:

The shattering effect of a high explosive.

selcouth \SEL-kooth\, adjective:

Strange; uncommon.

obtest \ob-TEST\, verb:

1. To supplicate earnestly; beseech.
2. To invoke as witness.
3. To protest.

sudorific \soo-duh-RIF-ik\, adjective:

1. Causing sweat.
2. Sudoriparous.

mensch \mench\, noun:

A decent, upright, mature, and responsible person.

besot \bih-SOT\, verb:

1. To infatuate; obsess.
2. To intoxicate or stupefy with drink.
3. To make stupid or foolish: a mind besotted with fear and superstition.

fulcrum \FOOL-kruhm\, noun:

1. The support, or point of rest, on which a lever turns.
2. Any prop or support.

numen \NOO-min\, noun:

Divine power, especially one who inhabits a particular object.

This “liquid” flowing up his arm and out of the other was numen, the divine substance, the sacred spirit that lives in a certain place in the body and sustains us all.
— Jonathan Carroll, White Apples

kowtow \KOU-TOU\, verb:

1. To act in an obsequious manner; show servile deference.
2. To touch the forehead to the ground while kneeling, as an act of worship, reverence, apology, etc., especially in former Chinese custom.

ort \awrt\, noun:

A scrap or morsel of food left at a meal.

aphotic \ey-FOH-tik\, adjective:

Lightless; dark.

ensconce \en-SKONS\, verb:

1. To settle securely or snugly.
2. To cover or shelter; hide securely.

littoral \LIT-er-uhl\, adjective:

1. Pertaining to the shore of a lake, sea, or ocean.

nosh \nosh\, verb:

1. To snack or eat between meals.

adenoidal \ad-n-OID-l\, adjective:

1. Being characteristically pinched and nasal in tone quality.

germinal \JUR-muh-nl\, adjective:

1. Being in the earliest stage of development.

hsien \shyuhn\, noun:

1. One of a group of benevolent spirits promoting good in the world.
2. In China, a county or district.

Taoists want to live forever, become Hsien.
— Louis Rogers, Ladder to the Sky

The hsien was willing to depart, most willing if it could fulfill its mission and take her with it. By urging the spirit to depart as quickly as possible, Deng had inadvertently given it new strength.
— Jane Lindskold, Five Odd Honors

agnomen \ag-NOH-muhn\, noun:

1. A nickname.

bona fides \BOH-nah FEE-des\, noun:

1. Good faith; the state of being exactly as claims or appearances indicate.
2. (Sometimes italics) (used with a plural verb) the official papers, documents, or other items that prove authenticity, legitimacy, etc., as of a person or enterprise; credentials.

He seemed to feel that he had to convince them of his bona fides before they would trust the purity of the fuel that he was selling.
— Dean R. Koontz, One Door Away from Heaven

reconnoiter \ree-kuh-NOI-ter\, verb:

1. To make an inspection or observation.
2. To inspect, observe, or survey (the enemy, the enemy’s strength or position, a region, etc.) in order to gain information for military purposes.
3. To examine or survey a region or area for engineering, geological, or other purposes.

It was necessary to reconnoiter the corral, in order to ascertain if it was occupied.
— Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island

I must ride up on that mountain, and reconnoiter; otherwise you see they might come down from the mountain.
— Leo Tolstoy, A Russian Proprietor and Other Stories

aperçu \a-per-SY\, noun:

1. A hasty glance; a glimpse.
2. An immediate estimate or judgment; understanding; insight.
3. An outline or summary.

Dr. Lornier, if you would be kind enough to give us a summary of your accomplishments and an aperçu of your plans for the next two months.
— Mona Risk, To Love a Hero

He was going to lecture that afternoon on Prosperity and, since I was unable to go to the lecture, he was good enough to give me an aperçu of the situation.
— Ford Madox Ford, It Was the Nightingale

pyknic \PIK-nik\, adjective:

1. Having a rounded build or body structure.

eudemonia \yoo-di-MOH-nee-uh\, noun:

1. Happiness; well-being.
2. Aristotelianism. Happiness as the result of an active life governed by reason.

We all seek eudemonia, but he thinks that it takes a great deal of reflection and education to get a clear enough conception of it really to aim at it in our practice.
— Robert Campbell Roberts, Intellectual Virtues

They may have believed that we already do value duty, utility, and eudemonia, but it is debatable whether they need to make such descriptive claims.
— Jesse J. Prinz, The Emotional Construction of Morals

Tellurian \te-LOOR-ee-uhn\, adjective:

1. Of or characteristic of the earth or its inhabitants.

noun:
1. An inhabitant of the earth.

We must keep in mind that we are, or should I say have become, hybrid personae, part tellurian, and part extraterrestrial.
— Robert Silverberg and Karen Haber, Universe 3

What special affinities appeared to him to exist between the moon and woman? Her antiquity in preceding and surviving successive tellurian generations…

— James Joyce, Ulysses

gasser \GAS-er\, noun:

1. Something that is extraordinarily pleasing or successful, especially a very funny joke.

iniquitous \ih-NIK-wi-tuhs\, adjective:

Characterized by injustice or wickedness; wicked; sinful.

dowager \DOU-uh-jer\, noun:

1. An elderly woman of stately dignity, especially one of elevated social position.
2. A woman who holds some title or property from her deceased husband, especially the widow of a king, duke, etc.

astringent \uh-STRIN-juhnt\, adjective:

1. Sharply incisive; pungent.
2. Medicine/Medical. Contracting; constrictive; styptic.
3. Harshly biting; caustic: his astringent criticism.
4. Stern or severe; austere.

emit \ri-MIT\, verb:

1. To slacken or relax.
2. To transmit money, a check, etc., as in payment.
3. To abate for a time or at intervals, as a fever.
4. To refrain from exacting, as a payment or service.
5. To pardon or forgive a sin, offense, etc.

It matters not that we remit our attention, at times, to the pain or the pleasure; these are always in the background; and the strength of the appetite is their strength.
— Alexander Bain, Practical Essays

If I were satisfied that you were not intending to make an exhibition of yourself I might be prepared to remit the fines.
— Henry Cecil, Independent Witness

antipode \AN-ti-pohd\, noun:

A direct or exact opposite.

It seemed that this enthusiast was just as cautious, just as much alive to judgments in other minds as if he had been that antipode of all enthusiasm called “a man of the world.”
— George Eliot, Daniel Deronda

esculent \ES-kyuh-luhnt\, noun:

1. Something edible, especially a vegetable.

adjective:
1. Suitable for use as food; edible.

The remainder of the garden presented a well-selected assortment of esculent vegetables, in a praiseworthy state of advancement.
— Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables

There are many varieties of mushrooms, some of which are very poisonous; therefore you should be careful in selecting them, that you do not mistake the poisonous for the esculent ones.
— Lettice Bryan, The Kentucky Housewife

furcate \FUR-keyt\, verb:

1. To form a fork; branch.

adjective:
1. Forked; branching.

The root systems of an ancient tree seemed to furcate and furrow the surface of his thighs, and where his skin was not covered in dark hair, it was strangely rippled with wild webs of some kind of tissue just beneath the skin.
— Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: A Novel

Just focus your attention on the eyes and let your mind furcate as it will.
— Patrick Moran, Tsunami Sundog

pococurante \poh-koh-koo-RAN-tee\, noun:

1. Caring little; indifferent; nonchalant.

adjective:
1. A careless or indifferent person.

“She is a charming lady who happened to be born in Vitebsk, and no more than that,” he kept thinking, trying to convince himself that he would be a pococurante person when it came to Nina.
— Johnny Wright, The Lost Chagall

Already he could see Alfred’s blonde head making its way toward him, and he was smiling to himself at the thought of the contemptuous objurgations his friend would address to him at his absurd pococurante affectation, for so Alfred always called Guston’s indifference, when his eyes fell upon a woman’s profile seated within a few feet of him.
— Ernest Roland, “Lèse-Amour,” The Galaxy

rutilant \ROOT-l-uhnt\, adjective:

Glowing or glittering with ruddy or golden light.

He had a round head as bare as a knee, a corpse’s button nose, and very white, very limp, very damp hands adorned with rutilant gems.
— Vladimir Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle

It was like the show-piece that is reserved for the conclusion of a fete, the huge bouquet of gold and crimson, as if Paris were burning like a forest of old oaks and soaring heavenward in a rutilant cloud of sparks and flame.
— Émile Zola, The Downfall

appertain \ap-er-TEYN\, verb:

To belong as a part, right, possession or attribute.

Natural rights are those which appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness…
— Thomas Paine, Common Sense and Other Writings

In all matters of discovery and invention, even of those that appertain to the imagination, we are continually reminded of the story of Columbus and his egg.
— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

…and since Phillotson’s success in obtaining at least her promise had become known to Jude, he had frankly recognized that he did not wish to see or hear of his senior any more, learn anything of his pursuits, or even imagine again what excellencies might appertain to his character.
— Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure

Appertain stems from the Old French word apertenir which meant “to belong.” The prefix ap- is a variation of the prefix ad- which means “toward.”

profluent \PROF-loo-uhnt\, adjective:

Flowing smoothly or abundantly forth.

Half the congregation — Gwen’s family and friends — reached the door ahead of me, their nonchalance more powerful, more profluent than my most intense desire. I could only crawl toward the chapel doors.
— Stephanie Grant, The Passion of Alice

In southern Arizona, it rains in summer, and I’m impatient for the monsoon torrents of August, for an indulgence of water, a baptism that will roister over rocks and swell profluent down the mountainside, roll through the rubble of the canyon floor…
— Caitlin L. Gannon, Southwestern Women: New Voices

Profluent is derived from the Latin word prōfluere, which meant “to flow forth.”

oracular \aw-RAK-yuh-ler\, adjective:

1. Ambiguous; obscure.
2. Of the nature of, resembling, or suggesting an oracle.
3. Giving forth utterances or decisions as if by special inspiration or authority.
4. Uttered or delivered as if divinely inspired or infallible; sententious.
5. Portentous; ominous.

“If you want me to understand, you’ll have to be less oracular,” Daisy said, patience wearing thin.
— Carola Dunn, Mistletoe and Murder

His demurrals, disclaimers, and protestations of ignorance were completely ineffective. Whatever guess he was finally strong-armed into hazarding was received as oracular.
— Deborah Eisenberg, Twilight of the Superheroes

Oracular comes from the Latin word oracle, meaning “a message from god.” The suffix -ar forms an adjective from a noun, like the word lunar.

liege \leej\, adjective:

1. Loyal; faithful.
2. Owing primary allegiance and service to a feudal lord.
3. Pertaining to the relation between a feudal vassal and lord.

cant \kant\, verb:

1. To talk hypocritically.
2. To speak in the whining or singsong tone of a beggar; beg.

noun:
1. Insincere, especially conventional expressions of enthusiasm for high ideals, goodness, or piety.
2. The private language of the underworld.
3. The phraseology peculiar to a particular class, party, profession, etc.
4. Whining or singsong speech, especially of beggars.

I don’t deny but that may sooner teach a Man to Cant and talk Gibberish, or use fair, smooth, formal Phrases, and religious Words.
— Richard Ward and Sarah Hutton, The Life of Henry More

A philanthropist by nature, he is not one of those dreamers who hate all that will not aid their one pet scheme, and cant about a general brotherhood which exempts them from particular charity.
— Robert Alfred Vaughan, Hours with the Mystics

Cant comes from the same Latin word as chant, the Latin word for song, cantus. The sense of “insincere talk” arose in the early 1700s.

alembic \uh-LEM-bik\, noun:

1. Anything that transforms, purifies, or refines.
2. A vessel with a beaked cap or head, formerly used in distilling.

The dream-world of their experiences in the wood near Athens becomes a kind of ‘alembic’ which they pass through to a truer perception of reality.
— Ronald P. Draper, Shakespeare, The Comedies

But the more he read the more he was astonished to find how the facts had passed through the alembic of Carlyle’s brain and had come out and fitted themselves, each as a part of one great whole, making a compact result, indestructible and unrivaled…
— Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

sibilant \SIB-uh-luhnt\, adjective:

1. Hissing.
2. Phonetics. Characterized by a hissing sound; noting sounds like those spelled with s in this.

noun:
1. Phonetics. A sibilant consonant.

This is the way the presence of a ghost was detected: Some sound would be heard, such as a sibilant noise, a soft whistle, or something like murmurs, or some sensation in a part of the body might be felt.
— George H. Ellis, Legends of Gods and Ghosts: Hawaiian Mythology

He just drank his coffee, making a little sibilant sound, and watched the earth mover lumber back and forth, back and forth, its shovel going up and down and over and up and down and over again.
— Anna Quindlen, Object Lessons

The wind in the patch of pine woods off there—how sibilant.
— Walt Whitman, Prose Works 1892: Specimen Days

Sibilant stems from the Latin word sībilant- which meant “whistling or hissing.” It is assumed to imitative of the sound itself.

harry
[har-ee] verb, har·ried, har·ry·ing.
verb (used with object)
1.
to harass, annoy, or prove a nuisance to by or as if by repeated attacks; worry: He was harried by constant doubts.
2.
to ravage, as in war; devastate: The troops harried the countryside.

puling
[pyoo-ling]
adjective
whining; whimpering: a puling child.

bunkum
[buhng-kuhm]
noun
1.
insincere speechmaking by a politician intended merely to please local constituents.
2.
insincere talk; claptrap; humbug.

autochthonous
[aw-tok-thuh-nuhs]
adjective
1.
pertaining to autochthons; aboriginal; indigenous ( opposed to heterochthonous).
2.
Pathology .
a.
found in the part of the body in which it originates, as a cancerous lesion.
b.
found in a locality in which it originates, as an infectious disease.
3.
Psychology . of or pertaining to ideas that arise independently of the individual’s own train of thought and seem instead to have some alien or external agency as their source.
4.
Geology . (of rocks, minerals, etc.) formed in the region where found. Compare allochthonous.

apothegm
[ap-uh-them]
noun
a short, pithy, instructive saying; a terse remark or aphorism.

vitiate
[vish-ee-eyt]
verb (used with object), vi·ti·at·ed, vi·ti·at·ing.
1.
to impair the quality of; make faulty; spoil.
2.
to impair or weaken the effectiveness of.
3.
to debase; corrupt; pervert.
4.
to make legally defective or invalid; invalidate: to vitiate a claim.

peculate
[pek-yuh-leyt]
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), pec·u·lat·ed, pec·u·lat·ing.
to steal or take dishonestly (money, especially public funds, or property entrusted to one’s care); embezzle.

verdant
[vur-dnt]
adjective
1.
green with vegetation; covered with growing plants or grass: a verdant oasis.
2.
of the color green: a verdant lawn.
3.
inexperienced; unsophisticated: verdant college freshmen.

phantasmagoric
[fan-taz-muh-gawr-ik, -gor-]
adjective
1.
having a fantastic or deceptive appearance, as something in a dream or created by the imagination.
2.
having the appearance of an optical illusion, especially one produced by a magic lantern.
3.
changing or shifting, as a scene made up of many elements.

malodorous
[mal-oh-der-uhs]
adjective
having an unpleasant or offensive odor; smelling bad: a malodorous swamp.

cathexis
[kuh-thek-sis]
noun, plural ca·thex·es  [-thek-seez]
1.
the investment of emotional significance in an activity, object, or idea.
2.
the charge of psychic energy so invested.

internecine
[in-ter-nee-seen, -sahyn, -nes-een, -nes-ahyn]
adjective
1.
of or pertaining to conflict or struggle within a group: an internecine feud among proxy holders.
2.
mutually destructive.
3.
characterized by great slaughter; deadly.

subsume
[suhb-soom]
verb (used with object), sub·sumed, sub·sum·ing.
1.
to consider or include (an idea, term, proposition, etc.) as part of a more comprehensive one.
2.
to bring (a case, instance, etc.) under a rule.
3.
to take up into a more inclusive classification.

effulgence
[ih-fuhl-juhns, ih-fool‐]
noun
a brilliant radiance; a shining forth.

prorogue \proh-ROHG\, verb:

1. To defer; postpone.
2. To discontinue a session of (the British Parliament or a similar body).

matrilineal \ma-truh-LIN-ee-uhl\, adjective:

Inheriting or determining descent through the female line.

In a matrilineal society, in a matriarchy, and especially in this particular matriarchy, the women, as I’ve already said, control the houses, the lineage of the children, and a lot of decisions about marriage and so forth.
— Patrice E. M. Hollrah, The Old Lady Trill, the Victory Yell

Several of the women I talked to had decided to challenge the influence of the matrilineal clan and to bequeath part of their land to their sons. The ways they had chosen in this regard were however quite different.
— Birgit Englert and Elizabeth Daley, Women’s Land Rights & Privatization in Eastern Africa

Matrilineal was first used in the early 1900s by anthropologists. It derives from the Late Latin roots matri- meaning “mother” and lineal meaning “line.”

intromit \in-truh-MIT\, verb:

To introduce; to send, put, or let in.

Mrs. Tappitt had frequently offered to intromit the ceremony when calling upon his generosity for other purposes, but the September gift had always been forthcoming.
— Anthony Trollope, Rachel Ray

But in this I found a great difficulty, arising from the policy and conduct of Mr. Andrew McLucre, who had a sort of investment, as may be said, of the office of dean of guild, having for many years been allowed to intromit and manage the same.
— John Galt, Annals of the Parish

Intromit comes from the Latin roots intro- meaning “inwardly” and mittere meaning “to send.”

belabor \bih-LEY-ber\, verb:

1. To explain, worry about, or work more than is necessary.
2. To assail persistently, as with scorn or ridicule.
3. To beat vigorously; ply with heavy blows.

gambit \GAM-bit\, noun:

1. A remark made to open or redirect a conversation.
2. Chess. An opening in which a player seeks to obtain some advantage by sacrificing a pawn or piece.
3. Any maneuver by which one seeks to gain an advantage.

omphalos \OM-fuh-luhs\, noun:

1. The central point.
2. The navel; umbilicus.
3. Greek Antiquity. A stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, thought to mark the center of the earth.

To that incurable romantic the Trenton hovel was omphalos, the hub of existence, the center of mass.
— Ellen Queen, Halfway House

Yes; but if not of the earth, for earth’s tenant Jerusalem was the omphalos of mortality.
— Thomas De Quincey, Suspiria de Profundies

From Greek, omphalos did not enter English until the 1850s when Thomas De Quincey used it in his work Suspiria de Profundis. It literally meant “navel.”

phatic \FAT-ik\, adjective:

Denoting speech used to create an atmosphere of goodwill.

We conduct phatic discourse indispensable to maintaining a constant connection among speakers; but phatic speech is indispensable precisely because it keeps the possibility of communication in working order, for the purpose of other and more substantial communications.
— Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality

They’re just filling the air with noise. This is what’s called phatic speech. “How are you?” they might ask.
— Adriana Lopez, Fifteen Candles

Coined by the anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, phatic was first used in 1923. It probably comes from the Greek word phatos meaning “spoken.”

ingeminate \in-JEM-uh-neyt\, verb:

To repeat; reiterate.

Sitting among his friends, often, after a deep silence and frequent sighs, he would with a shrill and sad accent ingeminate the word Peace, Peace…
— Christopher Ricks, Essays in Appreciation

Mr. Dott’s spirits were a little dashed, especially as Niven with a fateful countenance continued to ingeminate the word “Hungrygrain.”
— Arthur Train, Tutt and Mr. Tutt

Ingeminate comes from the Latin word ingemināre which meant “to repeat or redouble.”

demiurge \DEM-ee-urj\, noun:

1. Philosophy. A. Platonism. The artificer of the world. B. (In the Gnostic and certain other systems) a supernatural being imagined as creating or fashioning the world in subordination to the Supreme Being, and sometimes regarded as the originator of evil.

chrestomathy \kres-TOM-uh-thee\, noun:

A collection of selected literary passages.

I had learned to read Sanscrit and to translate easy passages in the chrestomathy, and devoted myself with special zeal to the study of the Latin grammar and prosody.
— Georg Ebers, The Story of My Life from Childhood to Manhood

This little chrestomathy preserves almost the only words of Atticus to have survived from antiquity.
— Peter White, Cicero in Letters

Chrestomathy literally means “useful to learn” in Greek, from the roots chres- meaning “to use” and math- meaning “to learn.”

cumulus \KYOO-myuh-luhs\, noun:

1. A heap; pile.
2. A cloud of a class characterized by dense individual elements in the form of puffs, mounds, or towers, with flat bases and tops that often resemble cauliflower.

He was organizing the year’s remnants. He was logging and archiving and filing it all. The whole swollen yearlong cumulus.
— Dana Spiotta, Stone Arabia

“So where is it at, Minogue,” asks the palatal man, aloft in a cumulus of webs and dust and creak.
— David Foster Wallace, Girl with Curious Hair

Cumulus stems from the Neo-Latin word meaning “heap, pile.” It was first used to describe clouds in the early 1800s.

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