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Marvelous Morphemes: Words That Are Fun to Say and Good to Know

(Newest additions are underlined! More to come…)

acrimonious (adj):
     (1) caustic, stinging, or bitter in nature, speech, behavior, etc.

aglet (noun):
     (1) a metal tag or sheath at the end of a lace used for tying, as of a shoelace
     (2) (in the 16th and 17th centuries) an ornament at the end of a point or other ribbon used to secure a garment

alacrity (noun):
     (1) cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness
     (2) liveliness; briskness

bandersnatch (noun):
     (1) an imaginary wild animal of fierce disposition
     (2) a person of uncouth or unconventional habits, attitudes, etc., especially one considered a menace, nuisance, or the like

barmy (adj):
     (1) containing or resembling barm; frothy
     (2) British slang: crazy; foolish; eccentric

bombastic (adj):
     (1) high-sounding; high-flown; inflated; pretentious

canoodle (verb):
     (1) caress, fondle, or pet amorously

conundrum (noun):
     (1) a riddle, the answer to which involves a pun or play on words
     (2) anything that puzzles

curmudgeon (noun):
     (1) a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person

didactic (adj):
     (1) intended for instruction; instructive
     (2) inclined to teach or lecture others too much
     (3) teaching or intended to teach a moral lesson

droll (adj):
     (1) amusing in an odd way; whimsically humorous; waggish

egregious (adj):
     (1) extraordinary in some bad way; glaring; flagrant
     (2) Archaic: distinguished or eminent

ephemeral (adj):
     (1) lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory
     (2) lasting but one day

ethereal (adj):
     (1) light, airy, or tenuous
     (2) extremely delicate or refined
     (3) heavenly or celestial
     (4) of or pertaining to the upper regions of space

fervid (adj):
     (1) heated or vehement in spirit, enthusiasm, etc
     (2) burning; glowing; intensely hot

fug (noun):
     (1) stale air, especially the humid, warm, ill-smelling air of a crowded room, kitchen, etc. 

gaggle (noun):
     (1) a flock of geese, when not flying
     (2) an often noisy or disorderly group or gathering
     (3) an assortment of related things

galumph (verb):
     (1) to move along heavily and clumsily

hedonic (adj):
     (1) of, characterizing, or pertaining to pleasure
     (2) pertaining to hedonism or hedonics

hulabaloo (noun):
     (1) a clamorous noise or disturbance; uproar

iconoclast (noun):
     (1) a breaker or destroyer of images, esp. those set up for religious veneration
     (2) a person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc., as being based on error or superstition

inkling (noun):
     (1) a slight suggestion or indication; hint; intimation
     (2) a vague idea or notion; slight understanding

jerboa (noun):
     (1) any of various mouselike rodents of North Africa and Asia, as of the genera Jaculus  and Dipus, with long hind legs used for jumping (see below)







juxtapose (verb):
     (1) to place close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast

kip (noun):
     (1) the hide of a young or small beast
     (2) a bundle of such hides
     (slang, chiefly British): 
     (3) a place to sleep; a bed
     (4) sleep
     (5) verb – to sleep

kismet (noun):
     (1) fate, destiny

knurl (noun):
     (1) a small ridge or bead, especially one of a series, as on a button for decoration or on the edge of a thumbscrew to assist in attaining a firm grip

lackadaisical (adj):
     (1) without interest, vigor, or determination; listless; lethargic
     (2) lazy; indolent

logophile (noun):
     (1) a lover of words

menagerie (noun):
     (1) a collection of wild or unusual animals, especially for exhibition
     (2) a place where they are kept or exhibited
     (3) an unusual and varied group of people

mizzle (noun):
     (1) mist or drizzle

moot (adj):
     (1) open to discussion or debate; debatable; doubtful
     (2) of little or no practical value or meaning

nebula (noun):
     (1) a cloud of interstellar gas and dust
     (2) (formerly) any celestial object that appears nebulous, hazy, or fuzzy, and extended in a telescope view

nexus (noun):
     (1) a means of connection; tie; link
     (2) a connected series or group
     (3) the core or center, as of a matter or situation
     (4) Cell Biology: a specialized area of the cell membrane involved in intercellular communication and adhesion

obsequious (adj):
     (1) characterized by or showing servile complaisance or deference; fawning
     (2)  servilely compliant or deferential
     (3) obedient; dutiful

ornery (adj):
     (1) ugly and unpleasant in disposition or temper
     (2) stubborn
     (3) low or vile
     (4) inferior or common; ordinary

pedagogy (noun):
     (1) the function or work of a teacher; teaching
     (2) the art or science of teaching; education; instructional methods

persnickety (adj):
     (1) overparticular; fussy
     (2) snobbish or having the aloof attitude of a snob
     (3) requiring painstaking care

quagmire (noun):
     (1) an area of miry or boggy ground whose surface yields under the treat; a bog
     (2) a situation from which extrication is very difficult
     (3) anything soft or flabby

quidnunc (noun):
     (1) a person who is eager to know the latest news and gossip; a gossip or busybody

quintessence (noun):
     (1) the pure or concentrated essence of a substance
     (2) the perfect embodiment of something

raconteur (noun):
     (1) a person who is skilled in relating stories and anecdotes interestingly

rimple (verb):
     (1) to wrinkle; crumple; crease

scuttlebutt (noun):
     (1) Nautical: 
               a.  an open cask of drinking water
               b.  a drinking fountain for use by the crew of a vessel
     (2) Informal: rumor or gossip

serendipity (noun):
     (1) an aptitude for making desireable discoveries by accident
     (2) good fortune; luck

southpaw (adj)
     (1) a person who is left-handed

temerity (noun):
     (1) reckless boldness; rashness

trope (noun):
     (1) any literary or rhetorical device, as metaphor, metonymy, synechdote, and irony, that consists in the use of words in other than their literal sense

turgid (adj):
     (1) swollen; distended; tumid
     (2) inflated, overblown, or pompous; bombastic

unctuous (adj):
     (1) characterized by excessive piousness or moralistic fervor, especially in an affected manner; excessively smooth, suave, or smug
     (2) of the nature or characteristic of an unguent or ointment; oily; greasy
     (3) having an oily or soapy feel, as certain minerals

vendetta (noun):
     (1) a private feud in which the members of the family of a murdered person seek to avenge the murder by killing the slayer or one of the slayer’s relatives, especially such vengeance as once practiced in Corsica and parts of Italy
     (2) any prolonged and bitter feud, rivalry, contention, and the like

wamble (verb)
     (1) to move unsteadily
     (2) to feel nausea
     (3) (of the stomach) to rumble; growl

withershins (adv):
     (1) in a direction contrary to the natural one, esp. contrary to the apparent course of the sun or counterclockwise: considered as unlucky or causing disaster (also widdershins)

xeric (adj):
     (1) of, pertaining to, or adapted to a dry environment

yakka (noun) – Australian:
     (1) work, especially hard work

yeti (noun):
     (1) abominable snowman

Zeitgeist (noun):
     (1) the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic to a particular period of time

zephyr (noun):
     (1) a gentle, mild breeze
     (2) (initial capital letter, Literary) the west wind
     (3) any of various things of fine, light quality, as fabric, yarn, etc.

 (All definitions from www.dictionary.com)

Have a word you think should be added to the list? Post the word, part of speech, and definition in the comments section below!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. psychofwriting
    May 12, 2010 @ 18:41:32

    Check out this great link to the Ellen DeGeneres “Addictionary”: http://addictionary.ellentv.com/Browse/Default?load=wotd


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