A word wonk’s wise, witty and/or wacky words

Posted: March 22, 2012 in All things literary, Words
Tags: , , ,

Just some words I’ve come across lately that I like. Maybe you will, too.

wonk noun
: a person preoccupied with arcane details or procedures in a specialized field; broadly : nerd

Myr•mi•don (mûr m -d n , -dn)
n.1. Greek Mythology A member of a warlike Thessalian people who were ruled by Achilles and followed him on the expedition against Troy.
2. myrmidon A faithful follower who carries out orders without question.

hence adv.

1: from this place : away
2: a archaic : henceforth
b : from this time
3: because of a preceding fact or premise : therefore
4: from this source or origin
— from hence
archaic : from this place : from this time

twitterpated [twit-er-pey-tid]

adjective Informal .
excited or overcome by romantic feelings; smitten.

1942; first used in the movie Bambi; twitter + -pated

Main Entry: twitterpated
Part of Speech: adj
Definition: confused by affection or infatuation
Etymology: twitter + -pated ‘pertaining to the head’

a•gog [uh-gog]
1. highly excited by eagerness, curiosity, anticipation, etc.
2. in a state of eager desire; excitedly.
1535–45; variant of on gog (in phrase set on gog rouse, stir up) < Middle French en gogues; see à gogo

Our younger daughter came home from work one day in a state of disbelief because she’d used “hence” in a sentence and the person to whom she was talking didn’t know what it meant. I personally like “twitterpated” quite bit. Seems like a word that could be used in all kinds of situations and since most people won’t know what it means, you can use it for almost anything, although I think the meaning should be similar to “bird-brained”, rather than “smitten.”  However, you can always say “Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe how twitterpated that person is!” or, changing the part of speech, “What a twitterpate!” Use a British accent for even more nuance.  “A good myrmidon is so hard to find” , along with a big sigh, will probably get a few blank looks or, amusingly, people acting like they know what it means and agreeing with you.  Very useful at work, though, or even at home when the kids don’t want to do what you’ve asked.   I think using the root of agog could be fun, too:  “Let’s on gog these people!”

I have a pet theory that you can take almost any word, real or not, and use it in a way that makes people think it’s an expletive or the best thing ever or whatever you choose, just by how you use it, your accompanying facial expressions and your tone of voice.  I can’t say I’ve ever tried it, but too often, just using a real word has the same effect.  My speaking vocabulary is much smaller and less rich than my reading vocabulary because speech, outside of the halls of high education or in professional journals, tends to be dumbed down a/o filled with slang.  There are words I know that I’d probably pronounce incorrectly because I’ve never heard them spoken, even after all my years in a home school milieu.

What words do you like?  They don’t have to be arcane; they just be words that sound good or funny or unusual to you.  But please share.  I’m always ready to hear about words.

  1. billgncs says:

    From Le Mis….

    I am agog, I am agast, Marius in love at last….

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