Enrich Your Vocabulary IV

by Debbie Harris

In three prior issues of Foolish Times I have presented words given to me in the daily word-a-day vocabulary enrichments I receive, words I can’t see being used in present day. This month I continue this discussion and offer:

Ergophobia –(uhr-guh-FO-bee-uh), an abnormal fear of or aversion to work. I wonder if this is a medical diagnosis. I think I might suffer from this.

Exeleutherostomize-(eks-uh-leuth-uh –ROS-tuh-myz), to speak out freely. Ok, the definition has less syllables than the word. Why would anyone use this? “The First Amendment gives all US citizens the right to exeleutherostomize.” Too complicated.

Vespertine—(VESS-per-tyne), of, relating to, or occurring in the evening. “My friends want to get together on Saturday for the vespertine meal.” Sounds exotic.

Obdorminition—(ob-dor-MISH-uhn), numbness in a limb, usually caused by pressure on a nerve. Also known as falling asleep. I can’t imagine saying, “I sat with my legs crossed for so long that I felt obdormition in them.”

Aciniform—(uh-SIN-uh-form), shaped like a cluster of grapes. Do we need a special word for this? What else is shaped like a cluster of grapes except a cluster of grapes? “The artist’s fruit-on-the-table painting had grapes placed in aciniform.”

Tatterdemalion—(tatt-er-dih-MAIL-yun), ragged or disreputable in appearance; being in a decayed state or condition, dilapidated. Sounds like “jacked-up” to me.

Aperient—(uh-PIR-ee-uhnt), having a laxative effect; stimulating evacuation of the bowels; something that relieves constipation. Well, that sure sounds quaint. “I say my good fellow, would you happen to have an aperient available to share with me?” or “After two days of an inactive gastrointestinal system, it has become apparent that I need an aperient.”

Guerdon—(GUR-dun), reward, recompense. “When the children finished all of their chores, I gave them a guerdon.” Not likely.

Schadenfreude—(SHAH-dun-froy-duh), enjoyment obtained from the trouble of others. This is a German word. Leave it to the Germans, the provokers of two World Wars, to invent a word meaning enjoying the suffering of others. Dummkopfs!

Jobbery—(JOB-uh-ree), the use of a public office for private gain. I can’t imagine anyone doing this. Can you?

Baragnosis—(bar-ag-NO-sis), loss of the ability to sense weight. I have this! At least when it comes to my own body. That’s why the number on the scale at the doctor’s office is such a surprise.

Senectitude—(si-Nek-ti-tood), old age. I’m saving as much money as I can so I won’t be poor in my senectitude.

Widdershins—(WID-uhr-shinz), in a counterclockwise, left-handed, or wrong direction. Really? Not the front lower legs of a woman whose husband has died?

Plinth—(PLINTH), the lowest base of an architectural column; usually a square block serving as a base. So those houses I saw in the South many years ago were not up on blocks. They were just plinthed.

Gust—(GUST), keen delight. I can’t imagine myself saying, “I felt great gust when I took my first spoonful of Bavarian chocolate gelato.”

Fane—(fayn), a place of worship. “Every Sunday, I go to my favorite fane.” Really?

Heliolatry—(he-lee-AH-luh-tree), sun worship. I wonder if there is a fane for heliolatrists.

Ludic—(LOO-dik), of, relating to, or characterized by play; playful. “We enjoy driving by the school at recess time, watching the children’s ludic activity.” Oh dear, not good.

Here’s hoping all mothers feel ludic on Mother’s Day and don’t have an aperient experience at their fane and start feeling tatterdemalion. If they do and they are in senectitude and the condition lasts into the vespertine hours, don’t exeleutherostomize any schadenfreude or when they pass, your guerdon will be that you’re written out of their will and will not have the luxury of ergophobia!

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