Pronounced: WHIP-jack, noun

Notes: I don’t think I’ve ever run across this word

Yesterday’s word

The word arcanum means

  • mysterious or specialized knowledge, language, or information accessible or possessed only by the initiate (usually used in plural)
  • elixir
First usage

This word goes back to the late-1500s

Background / Comments

This word is more frequently seen in its plural form (arcana). It comes from the Latin word arcanus (secret). At the time this word entered English, the mysteries of the physical and spiritual worlds were subjects of heavy scrutiny and rethinking. Alchemists pursued the arcana of nature, seeking elixirs to change base metals into gold. This sense has influenced the second meaning.

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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