Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday

I love the fact that Blogger has a scheduling feature - it means I can start this post a week in advance and add words to it as I come across them.

First, a big thanks to Bermuda Onion for hosting this meme. As I've posted about before, I'm doing a lot of travelling for work, but this is one thing I've been able to keep up on.

So, without further ado, here are my Wondrous Words for this week! I'll start with my favorite new word I will probably never work into a sentence:

1. Callipygian - (friends will know where I found this just from reading the quote) : “'Callipygian means having shapely or beautiful buttocks,' replied Reid. 'As opposed to steatopygian, which means to have fat buttocks.'”

That's a two-fer! An excellent definition, but I cannot imagine using that one in conversation.

These next several are from The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway. It seems like I've been reading this book for ages, but I've been loving every minute of it!

2. epicanthic folds - "It starts at his epicanthic folds and whispers down around his mouth."

A skin fold of the upper eyelid from the nose to the inner side of the eyebrow covering the inner corner of the eye. I even have a picture for this one:

3. conurbation - "In that direction a few months ago lay a muddle of buildings, stony outcroppings and forest, a region part sparse conurbation and part mountain..."

A conurbation is an urban area comprising a number of cities, large towns and larger urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area.

4. kuru - "Things came up out of the creek with muddy eyes, and the incidence of kuru was awfully high among the townsfolk."

Kuru also known as "Mad Human Disease" is an incurable degenerative neurological disorder (brain disease) that is a type of transmissable spongiform encephalopathy found in humans.
It is believed to be caused by prions and is related to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

5. polymath - "...a slender Katiri scion named Nq'ula Jann, formidable polymath and intellectual snob,"

A person whose knowledge is not restricted to one subject area. In less formal terms, a polymath (or polymathic person) may simply refer to someone who is very knowledgeable. Most ancient scientists were polymaths by today’s standards.

6. ithyphallic - "Presently, as you will observe, the caveman is clad in bearskin, thus obscuring from Your Highness's inner sight the ithyphallic object which so offended you at first--"

Graphic and sculptural representations of the erect penis; lascivious or salacious.

I am finding The Gone-Away World to be a great book and a font of new words. Most of them, as I've said before, I am at least vaguely familiar with, but it has been fun finding exact definitions for them.

What words made you smarter this week?


Beth F said...

Most people who have taken an anthropology class will know kuru.

Anonymous said...

Lots of new words in The Gone Away World! I like your use of the picture to explain your word. It helped me get it.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! I wish I was callipygian instead of steatopygian. I don't even think I can pronounce those words. Thanks for playing along.

Kaye said...

Those are toughies to pronounce! The picture is a big help for the epicanthic word. Mine is

Lenore Appelhans said...

Yeah, I need to get to Gone Away World. Haven't come across any unfamiliar words lately...

Becca said...

You have found a lot of new vocab for the body. I found a couple myself this week, although not quite as fun as finding new ways to describe your buttocks, I must say. :)

Anonymous said...

I love "callipygian," though I'd probably have to work a bit, to pronounce it properly. But alas that I am steatopygian.

I probably wouldn't have known "epicanthic folds" if I hadn't read Dune, by Frank Herbert, where he used it a few times.

I must confess that I also knew "ithyphallic," but only because I took a lot of classical mythology. :-)

Anyway, mine are here

Joanne ♦ The Book Zombie said...

Wow so many cool new words. Conurbation is a neat one to learn, I know of the concept but didn't know the term for it. Kuru was weird, I never knew there was such thing as 'Mad Human Disease.' Never heard of ithyphallic, but I would have assumed it had to do with a certain body part. lol

The Tome Traveller said...

Hi Lisa! You won a copy of The Italian Lover over on my blog. I emailed you but now I see that I may have left the "e" off of Lynne in the email I sent (probably because Lynn is my middle name, I'm not used to putting on an "e"). I'm emailing you again, but just in case, you can send me your address at thetometraveller at yahoo dot com