The best things in life are free. Especially words. They’re free, they’re pleasurable. A win-win. One of my favorites is callipygian. It’s the perfectly concise description of a perfectly formed butt. It’s of Greek origin, first used to describe the famous statue of Venus. Another useful phrase for the lady de Milo would be ‘No arms’. Neither of these terms has taken hold.
Unctuous is also useful. It means to be oily or ingratiating. Sadly, most people prefer smarmy jerk.
Ammon Shea knows a lot of great words. Check out his Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages. He’s a guy who sat down and read the Oxford English Dictionary from A to Z. All 21,730 pages of them. Holy God. He said, “I had been meaning to read the OED for years, but I always found some way to put it off… because if I read it I wouldn’t have it to look forward to.” That’s the best reason I’ve ever heard for not doing something pleasurable.
Here are a few of his findings you might think are useful:
Airling (n.) A person who is both young and thoughtless.
Interesting but pointless. Pesky kid is more popular, I would think.
Assy (adj.) Asinine.
I can see this catching on again. Four-letter words are always welcome.
Backfriend (n.) A fake friend; a secret enemy.
Definitely not a person who’s got your back; more like one who’s about to plunge a knife in there.
Gymnologize (v.) To dispute naked, like an Indian philosopher.
I can’t recall any disputes I’ve had when naked, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t last very long.
Mediocrist (n.) A person of mediocre talents.
Well, shit. Ain’t that practically everybody you know?
Miskissing (n.) Kissing that is wrong.
This is so useful. “Sorry, I just miskissed. I’ll have to do it again.”
Petecure (n.) Modest cooking; cooking on a small scale.
At last, a withering comeback to someone who boasts about being epicurean.
Trumpery (n.) Something of less value than it seems.
Well, well. Who would have thunk it? So perfect.
Set (n. v. adj. adv. conj.) Probably the most used word in the English language. As a verb, it has 155 different senses; as a noun, 48. It’s been in use for over a thousand years. Talk about useful.
So now you know. Find the word and it will set you free. Like money, spend it wisely.