Words for Word Nerds

alex atkins bookshelf wordsDo you love words? Do you enjoy reading even when the story doesn’t have a plot? Then you should meet a kindred spirit — Barbara Ann Kipfer, a self-confessed word-nerd. She has spent the past three decades reading dictionaries as a hobby as well as in her capacity as a professional lexicographer; Kipfer explains: “I have read dictionaries, etymology books, tomes on usage and grammar, books of unusual or old words, word trivia, and vocabulary books — for fun!.. It is a delightful hobby [to write down] what I find to be truly interesting definitions, fascinating origins or histories, details of usage, surprising trivia, useful synonyms, or unexpected connections between words.” The result of her endeavors is the endlessly delightful and fascinating book, Word Nerd. Here are some delicious morsels from Kipfer’s lexical smorgasbord. Bon appétit!

atrament: a synonym for ink

bariolage: a synonym for medley

coeval: a person of roughly the same age

dasypygal: having hairy buttocks

excubation: the act of watching all night

fremescence: the murmuring of a dissatisfied crowd

gargalesthesia: the feeling caused by tickling

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Read related posts: Rare Anatomy Words
Words Oddities: Fun with Vowels
What Rhymes with Orange

For further reading: Word Nerd: More Than 17,000 Fascinating Facts About Words by Barbara Ann Kipfer


One response to “Words for Word Nerds

  • aryanlane

    Love this! Definitely took a class in college called the Art of Dictionary Making. So much fun. And the final class project was to create our own dictionary. We each got to choose words and write our own definitions. And they actually published it so we could have copies. So excited to check out Kipfer’s book!

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