Wacky words to fill your vocabulary

Published 10:37 am Thursday, October 1, 2009

I wrote one of these columns a couple months back, but in the spirit of our “Word of the Day” tradition here at the office I thought I’d share some words with you.

This time around, I tried to find a theme with the words and I selected those that are seemingly a little wacky or eccentric in appearance, how you say them or their meaning.

So, here they are:

Sinuous (SIN-yoo-uhs), an adjective, is characterized by many curves or turns; winding, graceful curving movements. It can also mean not direct; devious. Sinuous is from Latin sinu?sus.

Tchotchke (CHOCH-kuh) is a noun meaning a trinket or a knickknack. Tchotchke is from Yiddish tshatshke, “trinket,” ultimately of Slavic origin. It is also spelled tsatske.

Eldritch (EL-drich), an adjective, means strange, unearthly, weird and eerie. Eldritch is perhaps derived from a Middle English word meaning “fairyland” and from Middle English elf, “elf” (from Old English aelf) and riche, “kingdom” (from Old English rice).

Logorrhea (law-guh-REE-uh), a noun, is pathologically incoherent, repetitious speech or incessant or compulsive talkativeness; wearisome volubility. Logorrhea is derived from Greek logos, “word” and “rhein” meaning “to flow.”

We here at the office had fun with this next one.

Crapulous (KRAP-yuh-lus), an adjective, is defined as given to or characterized by gross excess in drinking or eating or suffering from or due to such excess. Crapulous is from the late Latin “crapulosus,” which is from Latin “crapula” derived from Greek kraipale meaning drunkenness…and its consequences, nausea, sickness, and headache.

Bucolic (byoo-KOL-ik), an adjective, means relating to or typical of the countryside or its people; rustic and of or pertaining to the life and occupation of a shepherd; pastoral. Bucolic is also a noun and defined as a pastoral poem, depicting rural affairs, and the life, manners, and occupation of shepherds or a country person. Bucolic derives from the Greek “boukolikos” meaning “rustic; pastoral.”

Diktat (dik-TAHT), a noun, is a harsh settlement unilaterally imposed on a defeated party and an authoritative decree or order. Diktat comes from German, from Latin dictatum meaning “to dictate.” It is related to the word “dictator.”

My grandmother used to use the next term to describe a couple characters she used to know.

Gadabout (GAD-uh-bout), a noun, is someone who roams about in search of amusement or social activity. Gadabout is formed from the verb gad, “to rove or go about without purpose or restlessly” and about.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.