Posted by: Jack Henry | October 25, 2022

Editor’s Corner: A few new (?) English words and one in German

Our dear coworker Jane G. sent me a list of words I’d never heard before, and after guessing what they might mean, I looked up what they do mean. I’m going to be nice and provide you with the words and their definitions.

  • lalochezia (noun)

Emotional relief gained by using indecent or vulgar language. [KC – I hate to say this, but occasionally this is better than visiting a therapist!]

  • snollygoster (noun, slang)

A clever, unscrupulous person. [KC – Sounds right out of a Dickens novel.]

  • ultracrepidarian (adjective)

Noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside the area of their expertise. [KC – The example the dictionary was not kind to mothers-in-law, so I’m just going keep quiet on this one.]

  • scripturient (adjective)

Having a strong urge to write. [KC – Hmm. Can’t relate.]

  • muliebrity (noun)

Womanly qualities; womanhood. [KC – I saw this and read it as “mulberry.”]

  • thalassophile (noun)

Someone who loves the sea. [KC – I’m
definitely a thalassophile, especially when visiting the word’s home country, Greece!]

  • librocubicularist (noun)

A person who reads in bed. [KC – What
a wonderful word! Thank you for this collection, Jane!]

Now, as a bonus, I also have a German word from Jane. This goes under the category of “German words we should have in English.” If you’re feeling a little feisty with your insults, the word is Backpfeifengesicht. Here is the definition from the German Embassy Blog (in Washington, DC.):

Do you ever look at someone and feel like punching them in the face? Well, Germans have a unique word for that face: a Backpfeifengesicht — a face that’s badly in need of a fist.

This is one of those strange words that’s uniquely German with no English equivalent. The word Backpfeife means “punch/slap” (on the cheek/face) and Gesicht means “face”. The word Backpfeifengesicht therefore means something along the lines of “a face that’s begging to be slapped” – or punched. Or hurt. You get the picture.

Here’s hoping that none of you have a Backpfeifengesicht! (And no, I have no idea how to pronounce it!)

kara church | technical editor, advisory | technical publications

pronouns: she/her | call via teams |

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