Words I have learned

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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 27
Twitter 21
Books I’ve read 25
Wikipedia 5
Miscellany 25

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

Discovered via Twitter

an entertaining and rousing speech

Discovered via Merlin Mann

the process of exact thinking

Discovered via Wikipedia

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

Discovered via Agatha Christie

swimming or afloat

Discovered via NYT Crossword

a covering protecting plants or perishables from rough temperatures or weather

Discovered via Do: Inhabit

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

Discovered via B

report or represent in outline

Discovered via Twitter

a feeling of offense or deep resentment

Discovered via NYT Crossword

related to the north; northern

Discovered via Twitter (@xdesro)

a sail designed specifically for sailing off the wind

Discovered via The Mezzanine

a unit of cognitive information inside the brain

Discovered via The Mezzanine

an embryonic leaf in seed-bearing plants

Discovered via The Mezzanine

denoting an animal with gray/silvery hair

Discovered via NYT Crossword

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

Discovered via The Mezzanine

the battlements of a castle or other building

Discovered via The Mezzanine

a small or slender fiber

Discovered via The Mezzanine

the action of bending or the condition of being bent

Discovered via The Mezzanine

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

Discovered via The Mezzanine

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

a miniscule or slight vibration

to bungle (ie a task)

Discovered via George Reilly

relating to hairdressing

Discovered via Craig Mod

whispering, murmuring, or rustling.

Discovered via The City We Became

of or pertaining to gravity

Discovered via The City We Became

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

Discovered via Are You Listening?

an inquisitive and gossipy person

Discovered via NYT Crossword

ice axe

Discovered via NYT Crossword

feel happy and proud

Discovered via NYT Crossword

be able to connect, communicate, or exchange data

Discovered via Andrew Buss

an unstable subatomic particle of the same class as an electron

Discovered via The City We Became

an assembly of all the members of a group or committee

Discovered via Twitter

boastful or inflated talk or behavior.

Discovered via NYT Crossword

not kosher

Discovered via NYT Crossword

aiming at peace

Discovered via Twitter

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

Discovered via The Discovery of France

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

Discovered via NYT Crossword

feeling or expressing great sorrow or distress.

Discovered via The A.V. Club

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

Discovered via It Happened One Night

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 NYT Crossword

the retention of juvenile features in the adult animal

Discovered via Twitter

new or modern; recent

Discovered via Wikipedia

a procedure for restoring normal heart rhythm

Discovered via Twitter

mild and peaceful

Discovered via Piranesi

hard to interpret; enigmatic

Discovered via Patrick Collison

strike and rebound

Discovered via Reddit

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 Twitter

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 NYT Crossword

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

Discovered via Wikipedia

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

Discovered via The Lying Life of Adults

leading to salvation

Discovered via Twitter

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

Discovered via NYT Crossword

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

Discovered via Twitter

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

Discovered via Wikipedia

concerning, belonging to, or inhabiting the underworld.

Discovered via Hades

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

Discovered via Wikipedia

the doctrine of salvation

Discovered via Twitter (Liz Bruenig)

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 Twitter

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 The City We Became

a non-technical edema

Discovered via Twitter

a rudimentary inner toe present in some dogs

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

Discovered via NYT Crossword

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 Twitter

turn or slide violently or uncontrollably in a particular direction.

Discovered via NYT Crossword

potentially marketable as a toy or having merchandising potential

Discovered via Twitter

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

Discovered via Postwar

having a strong urge to write

Discovered via Max Read

a species of large antelopes

Discovered via 2020 NBA Playoffs, Game 2 Heat-Bucks

a rite of purification, especially washing

Discovered via Postwar

slow and gloomy

table scraps

Discovered via NYT Crossword

free from hair or down; smooth

Discovered via A Spell of Songs

a small enclosure or booth in a theatre or arena

Discovered via NYT Crossword

to laugh loudly or immoderately

Discovered via NYT Crossword

one who varies from the norm

the last six lines of a sonnet

Discovered via NYT Crossword

having little or no money

Discovered via Postwar

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

Discovered via Zach Lowe

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 NYT Crossword

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

Discovered via Brendan Schlagel

a miscellaneous collection of things

Discovered via NYT Crossword

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 Brendan Schlagel

a ski run of compacted snow.

Discovered via Mike Towber

native to the place where found (ant. allochthonous)

Discovered via Twitter

an organized society; a state as a political entity

Discovered via Against the Grain

a floating piece of ice detached from an iceberg.

Discovered via NYT Crossword
  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!