Archive for Specific Words

Fourieriest

A 2013 SMBC comic that I just saw suggested that the superlative of Fourier is Fouriest. Which reminded me that in 1998, I found a typo in the dictionary. Here’s the email that I sent to Merriam-Webster about it: Hi. I was just leafing through my copy of Webster's Ninth New Collegiate, and I found […]

macrodactylous misarchism

A piece of spam email that got past my spam filters the other day included a link to a web page that had the filename macrodactylous_misarchism.html. I suspect that the filename was generated by software that took two random words and strung them together; sadly, there don’t seem to be any web pages that are […]

weblog

I recently saw the word weblog in a Bruce Sterling story (“Black Swan”) that was published in 2009. Which surprised me, because even I, who disliked the word blog for a long time, was writing blog casually by 2002, and I think of Sterling as having been usually somewhere near the cutting edge of the […]

classes

I recently encountered a political article that contrasted the classes against the masses. At first I assumed there was a word missing—maybe the writer meant upper classes? But a bit of research revealed to me that the word classes by itself has long been used to refer to the upper class, especially in contrast to […]

tribe (biology)

According to Wikipedia: In biology, a tribe is a taxonomic rank above genus, but below family and subfamily. I don’t think I had ever encountered that meaning of the word tribe before. That Wikipedia article also says that in zoology, tribe names tend to end in -ini and subtribe names tend to end in -ina, […]

biodynamic

In the webcomic Strong Female Protagonist, the word biodynamic essentially means “having superpowers.” So I was startled just now to see a reference to biodynamic apples. Turns out that, according to Wikipedia: Biodynamic agriculture is a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it includes various esoteric concepts drawn from the ideas […]

struthious

I was vaguely aware of the word struthious as relating to ostriches, but I don’t think I had previously encountered it used metaphorically. Damon Knight, in his essay in Clarion II, wrote: Wollheim alludes to this episode in a typically struthious way[…] From context, I’m assuming that Knight meant that Wollheim had his head in […]