Definition: Smelling of horse urine—a wonderfully specific word that lends itself to many uses.
Definition: A heavy object attached to a cable or chain and used to moor a ship to the sea bottom. According to some, this is the only Latin nautical term to make it into Germanic languages (including English!) Unless you are a pirate or a boat, you might be more likely to use this word [...]
Definition: Pertaining to dinner. All the official definitions of this word talk about Romans wearing cenatory garments. If you wanted to tell someone else about what Romans wore when they ate dinner, it's pronounced 'se-na-tur-e' In fact, the etymology of the word is ... Oh, wait, did someone say 'dinner'?
Definition: Shaped like a fan. Today, a tin of beetroot decided to leap out of my hands and make a flabelliform stain on my white dress*. I knew I hated the stuff. ** * This didn't actually happen because I don't own a white dress. But if I did, I'm sure I would spill beetroot on [...]
Definition: In a literary work—an abrupt descent from the sublime or high-minded to the ridiculous. Not to be confused with 'pathos'. Pathos is a rhetorical technique that appeals to an audience's emotions—such as sympathy or sorrow. Bathos is most often used as comic relief. Monty Python and the Holy Grail has some good examples, including:
Definition: Goosebumps; an erection of hairs on the skin due to cold, fear or excitement I experience horripilation every time I see a cockroach (alive or dead). Also, when I hear a really good song (for the first time or hundredth).
Definition: Make a light, clear ringing sound; tinkle It was Christmas Eve and Santa was grumpy. People carried on about him going down chimneys as though they didn't know he was claustrophobic. When he'd told Mrs Claus, she told him to stop complaining and get into the Christmas spirit. So he did. Lots of different Christmas spirits. Very [...]
Definition: Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens. Is Australia a kakistocracy? You tell me.
Definition: The sound—particularly chirping—that insects make. Hot summer days are filled with the fritinancy of cicadas in chorus. This word is a rare beast. An edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in 1898 spelled it 'fritiniency'—but when spotted in the wild these days, it is more often spelled as 'fritinancy'.
A word constructed nearly entirely from affixes, all from Latin: Pre (meaning 'before'), ante (meaning 'before'), pen (meaning 'almost'), and ultimate (meaning 'final').