crepitate

Pronounced: KREP-ih-tate, verb

Notes: Not at all what I thought


Yesterday’s word

The word nephalism means “teetotalism; abstinence from alcohol”

First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1800s

Background / Comments

One who practices nephalism is a ‘nephalist’. I am a nephalist; given all of the problems caused by drinking and drunkenness, I think America would be better off if nephalism was more popular. People tend to imagine that they have better self-control than they actually do; I don’t know of anyone who deliberately becomes a drunkard. Then there are those that cannot stop drinking once they start. I think nephalism is a safer practice. There is a very active anti-tobacco lobby, even though the dangers from ‘secondhand smoke’ has been highly exaggerated. I wish this group would turn their attention to alcoholism instead of tobacco. Well, enough of that… our word comes the from the Greek word nephalios (sober).

nephalism

Pronounced: NEE-fuh-liz-uhm, noun

Notes: I didn’t know this word, but I like it; it would be good to drop into conversation


Yesterday’s word

The word opuscule means

  • a small or minor word
  • a literary or musical work of small size
First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1600s

Background / Comments

Our word comes from the Latin word opusculum, which is made up of opus (work) and -culum (a suffix denoting smallness). I have heard of opus, but with the emphasis on the first syllable (OH-puhs). Our word, with the emphasis on “puhs” just confused me and I didn’t see “opus” in the word. One of the things I thought was that it was some horrid medical condition.

opuscule

Notes: My mind thought of several possible meanings; none of them correct.

Pronounced: oh-PUHS-kyool, noun


Yesterday’s word

The word hurly-burly, as a noun, means “disorder; confusion; commotion; uproar”. As an adjective, it means “characterized by disorder, confusion, commotion, uproar”.

First usage

Our word came into English way back in the mid-1400s

Background / Comments

I tend to confuse our word with ‘hurdy-gurdy’, which is a kind of musical instrument. Our word is thought to come from the a duplication of hurling, from the verb hurl (to toss). When there is disorder, confusion, etc, our senses seem to be tossed about.

hurly-burly

Pronounced: HURL-ee-BURR-lee, noun/adj

Notes: This is one of those words I see and think I sort of know (and I’m close to the real meaning)


Yesterday’s word

The word kef means “a state of drowsy contentment”

First usage

Our word came into English in the early 1800s

Background / Comments

This is one of the words from the “not quite as well done” vocabulary list. I’m always checking words in this list with Internet sources. So, the definition I have above is what is said, and, on that basis, is quite a wonderful word. “Drowsy contentment” is what we’d all like to experience at the end of a hard day. It seemed like a great word to use… but then I checked online, and while it listed the definition above, it added “especially from marijuana, opium, or another narcotic”. So, I don’t feel as great about using it now. Our word comes from the Arabic word kaif (well-being; pleasure).

kef

Pronounced: kafe (alt: kef), noun

Notes: A great word; I hope all of you have experienced it!


Yesterday’s word

The word probative means “serving to test something or providing a proof”

First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1400s

Background / Comments

Our word comes from the Latin word probare (to test or prove), which comes from probus (upright, good) — this root word also give us the word “probity”.

probative

Pronounced: PRO-buh-tiv (alt: PRAHB-uh-tiv), adj

Notes: This word might be what you think it is


Yesterday’s word

The word obscurantism means

  • opposition to the increase and spread of knowledge
  • deliberate obscurity or evasion of clarity
First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1800s

Background / Comments

Our word makes me think of obfuscation (making things hard to understand). There is, or has been an “obfuscated C code contest” in which programmers compete to make the simplest things look obscure and complicated. After writing the previous sentence, I looked it up and it is still an existing contest; it had its beginnings around 1984. More information can be found online. Anyway, our word comes either from the French word obscurantisme or the German word Obscurantismus. These come from the Latin word obscūrant-, which is a stem of obscūrāns, the present participle of obscūrāre (to darken).

obscurantism

Pronounced: uhb-SKYOOR-uhn-tiz-uhm (alt: ob-skyoo-RAN-tiz-uhm), noun

Notes: I was kind of close to the meaning, but not quite right


Yesterday’s word

The word jobbery means “the use of a public office for private gain”

First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1700s

Background / Comments

I knew that “jobber” (from which our word comes) refers to someone who does odd jobs, but I wasn’t aware of the our word, whose origin is unknown.

jobbery

Pronounced: JOB-uh-ree, noun

Notes: I thought it was something about working


Yesterday’s word

The word polimathy means “learning in many fields; encyclopedic knowledge”

First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1600s

Background / Comments

I know the word polymath, which refers to a person who has learning in many fields. Our word was coined after that one, and refers to the learning, rather than the person. It comes from the Greek word polymathía, which comes from poly- (many; much) and mathēs, a derivative of manthánein (to learn).

polymathy

Pronounced: pul-LIM-uh-thee

Notes: I didn’t know this word, but I do know a similar word


Yesterday’s word

The word wrick, as a verb, means “to sprain or wrench”. As a noun, it is “a sprain”

First usage

Our word came into English in the early 1300s

Background / Comments

I have used this word to refer to a slight pain in an ankle or wrist, but I thought it was spelled rick, not wrick. I also was unaware that it meant an actual sprain. Our word comes from the Middle Low German word wricken (to sprain).

wrick

Pronounced: rick, verb/noun

Notes: I’ve used this word without knowing I was using it


Yesterday’s word

The word solipsistic means “of, or characterized by, solipsism (the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist)”.

First usage

Our word came into English in the late 1800s

Background / Comments

Our word comes the combination of the noun solipsism and -istic (a suffix used to create adjectives from nouns). The word solipsism is from sol- (alone; only) combined with the Latin word ipse (self).