Roswila's Dream & Poetry Realm

SEE ALSO: TRYING TO HOLD A BOX OF LIGHT (photos, realistic to abstract)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Unusual, obscure, and preposterous words
by Josefa Heifetz
Previously published as "Mrs. Byrne's Words"
A Citadel Press Book/Carol Publishing Group 1995
ISBN 0-8065-1720-4

This isn't truly a book review except in the sense I can say I am really enjoying it. I simply thought I should give you all the information about it since I will be quoting from it below. I will add that I've seen other books that go much more deeply into the definitions and etymology of unusual words. This book keeps it simple, fun, and informative. (And say that clearly it's been gathering dust on my shelves for years.)

I have this odd relationship sometimes with books. I have heard that some other book lovers have similar experiences. The title on a book that's been shelved -- read or not -- for a long time will sort of leap out at me as I pass by. (This has always reminded me of a cat who graced my home many years ago, Chaos. When she was a kitten she'd hide, then leap out at me when I passed to get me to play with her.) I take the book down and look through it. There is always something immediately useful or important in its pages, and almost always in the first paragraph I read at random. In the case of this book, as soon as I had it in my hands I knew what it was "saying" to me. That I should post some of the fabulous words in it to this blog.

The introduction claims that all of the words in the book have been accepted by at least one major dictionary. It also says "One man's clunker is another man's nugget." Here are this woman's nuggets, in the order I came across them. All are words I've never seen before. The meanings copied from the book are in quotes.

remonant: (long e; stress on second syllable) "Flowering again: applied to roses which bloom more than once a season." What a lovely word, both in sound and meaning.

pseudorhombicuboctahedron: "An Archimedean solid with 26 faces." Take the challenge; pronounce it. That last "c" messed me up the first time or two I tried it.

morcellate: (long o; stress on last syllable) What you might have the urge to do to the word directly above, "divide" it "into small pieces."

tregetour: (g said like a j; no stressed syllable) "A magician or juggler." I'm surprised I never ran across this in my Tarot studies.

aqueosalinocalcalinocetaceoaluminosoccuprevitriolic: Bet you knew that it's a "sesquipedalian acid." (Look up sesquipedalian yourself. :-D)

pahoehoe: (both o's and e's are long; no stressed syllable) No hooey! It's "lava that has been cooled in ropey forms, unlike aa (Hawaiian)."

henhussy: It's a "sexist term for a man who does housework." Bet Mr. Mom would object. As I do on behalf of all people who ever wished for help with housework from their partners. (Can I be anymore P.C.? :-D)

dwergmal: "An echo; literally, dwarf-language, the echoing rocks being the supposed homes of the dwarfs (Norse saga)." OK, I feel a scifaiku coming on.

I was going to end it here, but as fluttered through "just one more time" I ran across:

obeliscolychny: (short first o; long second o; stress on fourth syllable) "A lighthouse." Love it. Just as I love lighthouses. That obelisk at the start gave me an image of the opening of the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey." Well, that's it, can't shed any more light on that.

Now, that's a good place to end this post. I'll share more words from this book in the future.

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‘til next time, keep dreaming,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****My other blog: ROSWILA’S TAROT GALLERY & JOURNAL.