Archive for New-to-me Words

obelus and diesis

I recently went looking for a copy/pasteable instance of the “dagger” character (†) that’s sometimes used for the second footnote in a given document. The Wikipedia article about it tells me that the dagger is also known as an obelus, apparently related both to the word obelisk and to a Greek word referring to a […]


I just skimmed a 32-page booklet called Cryptogram Solving, by M. E. Ohaver, published in 1933. It demonstrated to me that there is more to solving the kinds of cryptograms that used to run in newspapers than just applying the frequency table; but it also demonstrated to me that I don’t really want to learn […]


According to an article by Fern Riddell, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley once wrote to a friend: I was so ready to give myself away—and being afraid of men, I was apt to get tousy-mousy for women. Apparently (according to that same article), tuzzy-muzzy is “slang for the vagina,” dating back to 1642. Only one of my […]


Note: Arachnophobic people may want to skip this post. The Wikipedia article about note-taking uses the word spidergram. It turns out that spidergrams are better known as spider diagrams, and that in the context of note-taking, that basically means mind-mapping, which I was previously familiar with. But I’m posting about the word spidergram for three […]


Encountered a new-to-me snack food yesterday: Peatos. I was initially startled, because I felt like the world is not yet ready for a peat-based snack food. Turns out that the idea is that it’s a Cheetos-like snack made with peas instead of corn.

French tips

In the 2018 version of A Star Is Born, someone at a drag bar refers to French tips, and I had no idea what they meant. Turns out it’s a style of manicure involving two colors of nail polish, one for the nail bed and the other for the tip of the nail.


According to Wikipedia’s article on King Arthur: “The familiar literary persona of Arthur began with Geoffrey of Monmouth’s pseudo-historical Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), written in the 1130s. The textual sources for [the legend of] Arthur are usually divided into those written before Geoffrey's Historia (known as pre-Galfridian texts, from the […]