Magic Words Journal — Recent Additions

Liberal Arts Blog: Tuesday is the Joy of Literature, Language, Culture, and Religion Day

Today’s Topic: Magic Words Journal — recent additions

In the past, I’ve made the case that everyone should keep a “Magic Words Journal.” When you come across a word that sounds cool, looks cool, or has a cool meaning, write it down in a place where you will be able to find it easily. When bored, go back to your Magic Words Journal to pick up your spirits. Today, a few recent additions to mine. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

WORDS WITH THREE SETS OF DOUBLE LETTERS — WHAT COMES TO MIND?

(Pause before proceeding.)

1. State capitals: only one. Tallahassee.

2. States: only two. What are they?

3. Others: whippoorwhill (a bird with a distinctive call), addressee, bookkeeper, committee, ness-words (sleepless, aggressive, possessive, heedless),

BLEB, FALX, EPONYM

1. Bleb: a small blister on the skin, a bubble in a fluid or glass, Blebs in the lung are characteristic of emphysema (usually caused by smoking). Tall skinny young males sometimes get spontaneous burst blebs in the lung leading to air in the lung (pneumothorax) which can result in a collapsed lung.

2. Falx: a.) a curved weapon that looks like a sickle used by Dacians, Thracians, and Romans; b.) a sickle-shaped layer of dura mater separating the two hemispheres of the brain.

c. Eponym: a.) a person after whom a person, place or thing is named, b.) a name or noun formed after a person, c.) examples: diesel, quixotic, draconian, sandwich,

Lou Gehrig’s disease….

PTOSIS, PUNCTUM, SWOLE

1. Ptosis: drooping eyelid. Can be hereditary. Actor Forest Whittaker has it (left eye).

2. Punctum: a small distinct point. Eyelid: a small hole into which tears drain (lacrymal punctum). Eye: the blind spot (punctum secum).

3. Swole: extremely muscular, jacked, buffed, ripped.

NB: “agony aunt” — a Britishism for an advice columnist. American examples: “Dear Abby” and “Ann Landers.”