Words I have learned

Follow changes over time via RSS:
/rss/words.xml

When I was in high school and even more insufferable than I am now, a friend and I started a tumblr called “sun words”. The concept of this was to collect words that we discovered that were particularly succulent or mellifluous. 1

I have found myself learning more and more words recently. This is fun and good: I was worried for a while that my days of adapting and playing with the English language were largely behind me. I thought it would be interesting and illustrative to collect a list of the words I’ve learned recently alongside the sources from which I’ve gleaned them.

When I first started building this catalog, I expected the plurality to be from the NYT crossword 2, and the data appears to bear that out:

Source Count
The NYT Crossword 32
Twitter 29
Books I’ve read 38
Wikipedia 6
Miscellany 41
Discovered via Reddit

a strict disciplinarian, especially in the armed forces.

Discovered via NYT Crossword

a fragrant essential oil, typically made from rose petals.

a rhetorical device wherein the speaker or writer brings up a subject by either denying it

Discovered via Twitter

a person who writes essays, particularly on literary and artistic criticism, that are composed and read primarily for their aesthetic effect

Discovered via Twitter

the sphere or realm of human consciousness

a group of cats

Discovered via NYT Crossword

a scrap or remainder of food from a meal

Discovered via Twitter

a divine creative impulse or inspiration

Discovered via Twitter

to divest of sacred qualities or status

Discovered via NYT Crossword

snoring; hardly breathing

the tendency to perceive meaningful connections between seemingly unrelated things

Discovered via Matthew Walter

refusal to submit to established authority

a tall chest of drawers, often with a mirror on top.

strip (something) of its covering, possessions, or assets; make bare

a pestering, nagging, or irritating person; a bore.

Discovered via Robin Sloan

make (rays of light or particles) accurately parallel

a lament

a flammable oil

Discovered via Twitter

craziness; senseless behavior or activity

Discovered via Twitter

the point of the celestial sphere from which the solar system is moving

able to undergo nuclear fission; easily split

Discovered via NYT Crossword

to nag someone about paying a debt

having a sufficient number of members to constitute a quorum

Discovered via Jerry Neumann

a form of betting in which those backing the first three places divide the losers’ stakes

the compulsion to write

Discovered via Christopher Vu

the person who inherits or is entitled to inherit property upon the termination of the life estate of the former owner

Discovered via NWS Seattle

a lover of rain

Discovered via Twitter

relating to or denoting a curve or surface which is closed and can be drawn or swept out in a single movement

Discovered via Wikipedia

the principle in Jewish law that the preservation of human life overrides virtually any other religious rule. When the life of a specific person is in danger, almost any mitzvah lo ta’aseh of the Torah becomes inapplicable

Discovered via NYT Crossword

bake an egg without its shell

a hard igneous rock containing crystals, usually of feldspar, in a fine-grained, typically reddish groundmass.

needlessly wordy or redundant (“I heard it with my own ears”)

the state of being normally responsive to and in harmony with the environment

the commercially valueless material in which ore is found

the part of the fruit formed from the wall of the ripened ovary

harshness of tone or manner

Discovered via Jasdev Singh

a short-handled riding whip with a braided leather lash

the condition or state of something being cryptic

someone who is irrationally afraid of cats

a person, such as a monk or nun, who has made vows of dedication to religious service

Discovered via Twitter

to heat something and allow it to cool slowly, in order to remove internal stresses and toughen it.

Discovered via ESPN

rooster

an inhabitant of a town or borough with full rights of citizenship

Discovered via Twitter

the reversion of property to the state on the owner’s dying without legal heirs

Discovered via Merlin Mann

an entertaining and rousing speech

Discovered via Wikipedia

the process of exact thinking

a beneficed member of the clergy; a rector or a vicar

Discovered via NYT Crossword

swimming or afloat

a covering protecting plants or perishables from rough temperatures or weather

Discovered via B

a state or condition of sluggishness, inactivity, or torpor exhibited by reptiles

Discovered via Twitter

report or represent in outline

Discovered via NYT Crossword

a feeling of offense or deep resentment

Discovered via Twitter (@xdesro)

related to the north; northern

a sail designed specifically for sailing off the wind

a unit of cognitive information inside the brain

an embryonic leaf in seed-bearing plants

Discovered via NYT Crossword

denoting an animal with gray/silvery hair

an example or instance of a word/phrase at a date earlier than previously known

the battlements of a castle or other building

a small or slender fiber

the action of bending or the condition of being bent

a hinged surface in the trailing edge of an airplane wing, used to control lateral balance

the making of false and defamatory statements about someone in order to damage their reputation; slander.

a miniscule or slight vibration

Discovered via George Reilly

to bungle (ie a task)

Discovered via Craig Mod

relating to hairdressing

whispering, murmuring, or rustling.

of or pertaining to gravity

a tunnel carrying a stream or open drain under a road or railroad

Discovered via NYT Crossword

an inquisitive and gossipy person

Discovered via NYT Crossword

ice axe

Discovered via NYT Crossword

feel happy and proud

Discovered via Andrew Buss

be able to connect, communicate, or exchange data

an unstable subatomic particle of the same class as an electron

Discovered via Twitter

an assembly of all the members of a group or committee

Discovered via NYT Crossword

boastful or inflated talk or behavior.

Discovered via NYT Crossword

not kosher

Discovered via Twitter

aiming at peace

a specialist in geometry (i.e. for mapmaking or exploration)

Discovered via NYT Crossword

to discharge, as from the body; void (opposed to ingest)

Discovered via The A.V. Club

feeling or expressing great sorrow or distress.

a type of rotorcraft that uses an unpowered rotor in free autorotation to develop lift

Discovered via NYT Crossword

a newborn child

Discovered via NYT Crossword

an arrangement of five objects with four at the corners of a square or rectangle and the fifth at its center

Discovered via Twitter

the retention of juvenile features in the adult animal

Discovered via Wikipedia

new or modern; recent

Discovered via Twitter

a procedure for restoring normal heart rhythm

mild and peaceful

Discovered via Patrick Collison

hard to interpret; enigmatic

Discovered via Reddit

strike and rebound

Discovered via Twitter

exerting a detrimental effect on later generations through the inheritance of undesirable characteristics

Discovered via Twitter

rich with, covered in, or heavily producing oil or grease

Discovered via Twitter

root out and destroy completely

Discovered via NYT Crossword

the hard white fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle, sheep, and other animals, used to make foods including puddings, pastry, and mincemeat

Discovered via NYT Crossword

the entrails and internal organs of an animal used as food.

Discovered via Wikipedia

a single cell or cytoplasmic mass containing several nuclei, formed by fusion of cells or by division of nuclei

a cable railroad, especially one on a mountainside, in which ascending and descending cars are counterbalanced.

Discovered via Twitter

leading to salvation

Discovered via NYT Crossword

a book containing the texts used in the Catholic Mass throughout the year

Discovered via Twitter

an irresolvable internal contradiction or logical disjunction in a text, argument, or theory

Discovered via Wikipedia

(relating to a woman’s appearance) dirty and untidy

concerning, belonging to, or inhabiting the underworld.

Discovered via Wikipedia

a person who enjoys watching activity on the canals of the United Kingdom

Discovered via Twitter (Liz Bruenig)

the doctrine of salvation

Discovered via Twitter

a difficult choice from three options, each of which is (or appears) unacceptable or unfavourable

Discovered via Twitter

relating to nourishment or sustenance.

Discovered via The City We Became

covered with or characterized by scales

Discovered via The City We Became

a helpful companion or partner, especially one’s husband or wife.

Discovered via Twitter

a non-technical edema

a rudimentary inner toe present in some dogs

Discovered via NYT Crossword

a low dam built across a river to raise the water level upstream

Discovered via Twitter

naturally accompanying or associated

Discovered via Twitter

a person who appears to enjoy being depressed, esp a performer of or listener to gloomy music

Discovered via Twitter

economic independence or self-sufficiency

Discovered via NYT Crossword

turn or slide violently or uncontrollably in a particular direction.

Discovered via Twitter

potentially marketable as a toy or having merchandising potential

Discovered via Postwar

to solve, write, or compose by working studiously at all hours

Discovered via Max Read

having a strong urge to write

Discovered via 2020 NBA Playoffs, Game 2 Heat-Bucks

a species of large antelopes

Discovered via Postwar

a rite of purification, especially washing

slow and gloomy

Discovered via NYT Crossword

table scraps

Discovered via A Spell of Songs

free from hair or down; smooth

Discovered via NYT Crossword

a small enclosure or booth in a theatre or arena

Discovered via NYT Crossword

to laugh loudly or immoderately

one who varies from the norm

Discovered via NYT Crossword

the last six lines of a sonnet

Discovered via Postwar

having little or no money

Discovered via Zach Lowe

seeking to impose a doctrine in all circumstances without regard to practical considerations.

Discovered via NYT Crossword

complete; utter

Discovered via NYT Crossword

invent excuses to avoid a task; shirk.

Discovered via NYT Crossword

a carved tablet or drawing representing a scroll with rolled-up ends

Discovered via NYT Crossword

kettledrums, especially when played by one musician in an orchestra

Discovered via NYT Crossword

a type of raccoon with a long snout and a striped tail

Discovered via Brendan Schlagel

know-it-all, wiseguy, wiseacre, smart aleck

Discovered via NYT Crossword

a miscellaneous collection of things

Discovered via Brendan Schlagel

beautiful thinking

Discovered via Brendan Schlagel

nonsense verse

Discovered via Brendan Schlagel

a place for studying

Discovered via Brendan Schlagel

carried reference book

Discovered via Brendan Schlagel

short, witty aphorism

Discovered via Brendan Schlagel

strange; unfamiliar; marvelous

Discovered via Mike Towber

a ski run of compacted snow.

Discovered via Twitter

native to the place where found (ant. allochthonous)

Discovered via Against the Grain

an organized society; a state as a political entity

Discovered via NYT Crossword

a floating piece of ice detached from an iceberg.

  1. Why “sun words”? Because we were high schoolers, and because we learned of the concept of “SAT words” — words that made Flesch-Kincaid salivate — and because _Sun_day comes after _Sat_urday. (I told you — insufferable.) 

  2. Of which I recommend you make a daily habit!