"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Thursday, 30 September 2010


The marimba is a large scale musical instrument in the percussion family. Keys or thin, wide bars (usually made of wood) are struck with mallets to produce musical tones. A foot pedal to controls resonators below. It produces a sound much mellower and more sustained than that of the xylophone.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


A paradigm (pronounced PAIR-uh-dime)is an example serving as a model or pattern; a set of all forms which contain a common element; or a general agreement of belief of how the world works - what could be called `common sense'.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Photovoltaic systems are those which generate electricity directly using natural sunlight. A solar cell is therefore a device that converts the energy of sunlight directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect.

Monday, 27 September 2010


Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work; laziness. It is one of the Seven Capital Sins (from the Catechism) also known as the seven deadly sins and one of the Five Hindrances in Buddhism.

Sunday, 26 September 2010


Agar or agar agar is a gelatinous substance derived from seaweed. Historically and in a modern context, it is chiefly used as an ingredient in desserts throughout Japan, but in the past century found extensive use as a solid substrate to contain culture medium for microbiological work.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Baggits and Sprags

Salmon have a variety if names according to the stage they are at in their life cycle. Among these are;-

Alevin - fry or very young salmon
Parr - up to 2 years old
Samlet - young salmon
Sprag - young salmon
Smolt - young salmon migrating to sea
Sprod - salmon in its second year
Grilse - salmon on its first return from sea
Baggit - salmon just after spawning

Friday, 24 September 2010


A sociable (short for sociable coach) or barouche-sociable is an open, four-wheeled carriage described as 'a cross between a barouche and a victoria'. It had two double seats facing each other. It might be controlled from the interior by an owner-driver or have a box for a coachman.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


A beadle was a parish constable; or a uniformed minor lay official who served a ceremonial function and kept order; or an attendant to a Scottish minister.

Charles Dickens' character from Oliver Twist, Mr Bumble is the parish beadle and leader of the orphanage. He's officious, corrupt, a chronic mangler of the King's English, and a great source of comic relief.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


The glaistig is a creature from Scottish mythology - the word is Gaelic in origin. It can either be a kind of satyr in the shape of a goat, or a beautiful female fairy, identical with the bean-nighe, usually attired in a green robe, seldom seen except by the bank of a river.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


Bloomers is a word which has been applied to several types of divided women's garments for the lower body at various times. Originally they were loose oriental trousers gathered at the knee or ankles, first made popular by Ameian feminist Amelia Bloomer in 1851.

A bloomer can also be a blunder; an embarrassing mistake.

And a third meaning for bloomer is an iron worker.

Monday, 20 September 2010


The Spencer, dating from the 1790's, was originally a woolen outer tail-coat with the tails cut-off. It was worn as a short waist-length, double-breasted, man's jacket over a long-tailed coat as extra covering. In the eighteenth century, Lord Spencer stood with his back to a fire and the tails of his tail-coat caught fire. The burned parts were cut away and Spencer liked the resulting style.

Later it becamse the name for a kind of short jacket for women and children.

Sunday, 19 September 2010



Adipose means composed of animal fat. Adipose tissue, for example, is mainly fatty tissue.

An adipose fin is a single fleshy fin along the back of a fish.

Saturday, 18 September 2010


I came across the word pastern the other day and found it defined as that part of the foot of a hoofed mammal from the fetlock to the hoof. That's OK if you know what the fetlock is!

The fetlock, it seems, is the joint between the cannon bone and the pastern. So where is the cannon bone?

Alternatively the fetlock is the common name for the metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal joints (MCPJ and MTPJ) of horses, large animals, and sometimes dogs.

I'm sorry I started this one....

Friday, 17 September 2010


The multure was the proportion of a man's flour paid to the miller or the Lord who owned the mill for the privilege of having one's grain milled in medieval times. The multure was usually a tithe - ten per cent - but millers were notorious for being dishonest and trying to take more than their fair share.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Zephyrs and Willy-gwillies


The four ancient Greek winds were Boreas (N wind); Eurus (E wind); Notus (S wind); and Zephyrus (W wind). From the letter we get the English word zephyr which means a gentle breeze or a westerly wind.

Around the world there are many local winds with their own special names. Amongst these are:-

Auster - also known as Sirocco - a hot dusty wind that blows from North Africa to S Europe.

Levanter - An easterly wind in the west Mediterranean in late summer.

Föhn - a warm dry wind down the N Alps.

Mistral - a cold dry wind down the Rhone and other S French valleys.

A willy-gwilly is the name given to an Australian dust-storm or cyclone.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


To asseverate is to declare earnestly, seriously, or positively; to affirm.

An asseveration is an assertion: a declaration that is made emphatically (as if no supporting evidence were necessary).

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


A merrythought is the furcula or wishbone of a fowl's breast.

The term 'Merrythought' is thought to have come from the happy thoughts one has while breaking a wishbone.

Monday, 13 September 2010


A euonym is a pleasing or beautiful name.

The opposite is a caconym - a bad name for anything; a name which is in any way undesirable or objectionable.

Sunday, 12 September 2010


A poecilonym is a word that means the same thing as another word. So poecilonym is a poecilonym for synonym!

Saturday, 11 September 2010


Abditive means remote, secret or hidden.

Friday, 10 September 2010


Accubation is the act or posture of reclining on a couch, as practiced by the ancients at meals.

Thursday, 9 September 2010


Metronymy is the system of naming after the mother's or female line in a family.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


An agelast is one who never laughs; a mirthless person.

He or she is definitely not an abderian!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


An abderian is a person given to foolish or excessive laughter.

Monday, 6 September 2010


   An abbozzo is a preliminary sketch, rough drawing or early model.

Sunday, 5 September 2010


Jentacular means of or pertaining to a breakfast taken early in the morning, or immediately on getting up.

Saturday, 4 September 2010



An agraffe is a clasp consisting of a hook which fastens on to a ring; the term is also used for a certain piano part and for the wire that holds the cork in a champagne bottle.

Friday, 3 September 2010


Brontide is long, low, rumbling thunder. The term is also used for low, rumbling thunderlike sounds of short duration not originating from thunderstorms but believed to be of seismic origin.

Thursday, 2 September 2010


Blandiloquence is mild, flattering speech.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


A hagiographer is the author of a worshipful or idealizing biography; especially used for those writing about saints. The study of saints is called hagiography.

An autohagiographer is someone who writes sumgly about their own achievments.


Guggenheim is a word game.

The Rules of Guggenheim

Players choose a set of five different categories; for example - places, girl's names, vegetables, cars and sports.

Then they choose a word of five or six letters; e.g. PRAISE.

Each player then has to provide a word for each category starting with each letter of the target word.

Scoring is either one point for each word provided or one point for each word no-one else fills in that space for, each blank counting minus 1 point.