There are all sorts of things that have names that you never knew existed. Even that little indentation marked by two lines situated between your nose and upper lips has a name, you know. (Philtrum). As does the back of your knees. (Popliteal fossa). But there are some things that you never even imagined somebody would take the time to name. Words are a fun thing and I’ve had more than my share of fun introducing word and phrase origins to you, but it’s been a long time since I wrote something like this. To give myself a challenge I thought I’d try to find some names for things that only the most obsessive compulsive of word people would find interesting. Fortunately, almost all of those who have read my word articles fall into that category. I think it is almost a prerequisite that one become obsessed with words.
Opsimath: I am something of an opsimath because I entered college in my late thirties. Can you guess the definition from that? An opsimath is strange word used to describe someone who begins to study something late in life. Doesn’t really fit my situation because I entered college to study what I had been learning independently for years, but you get the drift.
Ergophobic: Someone with a fear of work. You may think that this word applies to many people, but most of them don’t really fear work; they are just simply lazy and fear being put to work.
Iotacist: Have you ever met someone who can’t seem to take part in a conversation without bringing it around to them? Technically, an ioatacist is someone who uses the word “I” to excess. Goodness knows there are plenty of ioatacists around, especially in Hollywood.
Psilosopher: You know those guys who act like they are really deep and proud of themselves when they say things like “My philosophy of life is to sit back, don’t take things too seriously, and don’t waste you life drinking cheap wine”? That is a psilosopher; someone with a very shallow philosophy.
Lubitorium: Unfortunately, this is a word that has become archaic in just the last two decades. It meant a service station, back in the days when the sound of a bell would bring out a guy in a jumpsuit to fill up your gas tank, clean your windshield and check your oil and maybe even give you a dish or crystal drinking glass if you filled up the tank.
Nihilarian: Somebody who occupies their time with dealing with things of absolutely no consequence. Think Simon Cowell. Or people who write articles about obscure words nobody uses.
Pampination: The next time you venture forth into the back yard to trim some climbing vines and some wiseguy asks what you are doing you can shoot back this reply that is sure to confuse them: “I’m pampinating.”
Pilgarlic: Much more rare than they used to be. A pilgarlic is one of the most specific of words; it means a bald guy whose lack of hair makes him the object of mockery.
Snollygoster: Unfortunately, a snollygoster is not rare; in fact, they are just as prevalent as they have ever been. A snollygoster is a crooked politician. In fact, he is not just crooked, but is particularly crafty and shrewd at being crooked. That would leave out George W. Bush who isn’t shrewd in the slightest, but would cover John McCain who has managed to make a career out of duping the media and voters into thinking he is a maverick.