Word Search #1

Photo by Andreas Fickl / Unsplash

In my first blog post, I mentioned that one of the reasons I wanted to write was my fascination with words and my desire to learn new words. In my yearly reflection post, I mentioned that I wanted to improve my vocabulary. In an attempt to improve and learn, I started noting down words that I came across in several mediums so that I could start using them in conversation. While on it, I came across a bunch of interesting ones. Every language evolves with usage, and the validity, usage, and meaning of words are decided by none other than the people who speak them. In this short post, I'd like to show you a bunch of interesting words that I came across, some of which sound familiar but has very different meaning.

  1. Defenestration — The formal meaning of defenestration is "the act of throwing someone out of a window." It also denotes "the act of dismissing someone from a position of power or authority." The second one makes sense, but I never thought English had a word dedicated to throwing someone out of a window.
  2. Onomatopoeia — What do the words meow, cuckoo, sizzle, buzz, etc., have in common? Take a moment to think about it before reading further. These words are formed based on the sounds they are named for — it's like something makes some sound, and they use the word literally to describe it. The word meow was formed because a cat sounds like it, so the word was just used to describe it. We say that a bee "buzzes" because it is the exact sound that the bee makes. Onomatopoeia is — the use or creation of a word that phonetically imitates, resembles, or suggests the sound it describes. Some more examples of Onomatopoeia — are most animal sounds (moo, ribbit, etc.), tick-tock (of a clock), ding-dong (of a bell), beep, etc.
  3. Coy — Coy is nothing but the act of pretending to be shy or modest in a seductive way, which is usually perceived as attractive. In a practical context, being coy goes hand in hand with flirting.
  4. Antics — Antics is the formal word for shenanigans — foolish, funny, and mischievous acts, often used in plural form. When I first came across this word, I mistook it for antiques. I should've looked it up before suggesting a spelling correction to the article's author. Dude laughed in my face.
  5. Petulant — Petulant is a word that essentially translates to "don't be a baby!" A petulant person is childishly sulky, complains a lot, with a bad temper. I know you thought about someone while reading that.
  6. Pithy —  Pithy is an adjective, which describes a comment or a piece of writing that's concise, to the point, and full of meaning. See how I wrote that sentence? That's pithy writing. You're welcome.
  7. Rumination — I thought of ruination when I saw this word, but I was nowhere close. Rumination is the act of being in a deep or concerned thought about something. Why is a group of pandas called "an embarrassment"? Who decided to call those poor things an embarrassment? Let's ruminate.
  8. Scrupulous — Take a moment to guess the meaning of this word. We are in the same boat if you thought of the word scrutiny. And we are right. A scrupulous person is thorough, diligent, and attentive to details.
  9. Convalescence — I know this sounds like the name of a scented candle. But no, convalescence is the time spent recovering from an illness or a medical treatment. If you know someone in convalescence, send them some flowers and scented candles and wish them a speedy recovery.
  10. Gentrification — I heard this term from my friend. Again, I was fascinated by how something so specific has a word dedicated to it. Gentrification is when a poor area (in a city, for instance) experiences an influx of middle-class or wealthy people who renovate and rebuild homes and businesses. This often results in increased property values and the displacement of earlier, usually poorer residents. I stole this definition directly from Merriam-Webster and couldn't paraphrase it any better.

Anyway, these are some new, interesting words I learned recently. What are some weird words you came across? I'd love to know. As always, thanks for reading. Cheers!

Vivek Arvind

Vivek Arvind

Santa Clara, CA