Archive for Specific Words


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, […]


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 […]


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 […]


Gneiss is one of those words that I have a hard time not making jokes about. I’m in the midst of labeling my photos from a 2014 trip to the British Museum. In most cases, I took a photo of a piece of art and then took a photo of the nearby explanatory card, but […]


Just looked at the list of ingredients for a skin lotion; the first ingredient listed was “aqua.” I figured it probably referred to water, but I’m not used to water being called anything other than water in ingredients lists, so I poked around a little further. Turns out it’s not at all unusual, according to […]

Getting my damneder up

It occurred to me just now that something can be the damnedest thing, and something can be a damned thing, but I’ve never heard anyone refer to something as a damneder thing. But I figured before posting about it, I should do a bit of research to be sure damneder isn’t in wide use. And […]