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There's a Word for That? 8 Fun Words About Words
logophile
[law-guh-fahyl, log-uh-]
Does discovering a new word fill you with a glee that borders on rapture? You might be a logophile, or "lover of words." If your word zeal transcends delight to the point that you're considering building a temple in honor of your favorite term, you might subscribe to epeolatry, or the worship of words. Don't worry, you're among friends here.
demonym
[dem-uh-nim]
Kiwi, Nutmegger and Cornhusker might sound like items you buy at the supermarket, but in this case they are all informal demonyms, or names used for the people who live in a particular country, state, or other locality. Formal demonyms for the above are New Zealander, Connecticuter and Nebraskan, respectively.
sesquipedalian
[ses-kwi-pi-dey-lee-uhn, -deyl-yuhn]
Language innovation is a cornerstone of the Twitter era, but keeping it to 140 characters or less likely cramps the style of those with sesquipedalian tendencies. This six syllable gem means "given to using long words."
accismus
Feigned indifference is something of which most of us are guilty at one point or another, such as falsely declaring "I have no interest in another slice of pie," right before reaching for that heaven-sent second serving. The word for this verbal charade is accismus, a form of irony in which a person pretends to refuse something that he or she desires.
verbicide
[vur-buh-sahyd]
Many feel that the increasingly common use of the embattled word literally to mean "in effect" or "virtually" is a case of verbicide, or the willful distortion or depreciation of the original meaning of a word. However, we make no judgments here. This is a safe place.
dysphemism
[dis-fuh-miz-uhm]
Euphemisms help us dance around impropriety and bluntness in speech and writing, but what if our communication needs are of a more bawdy nature? Dysphemisms, or expressions wherein neutral or mild language is shunned in favor of more harsh verbiage, come in handy for such occasions.
litotes
[lahy-tuh-teez, lit-uh-, lahy-toh-teez]
Sometimes the best way to zero in on an idea is by highlighting what it is not; that's the principle behind litotes, a fun form of understatement, in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary, as in "He's not without charm."
eponym
[ep-uh-nim]
What do the words boycott, chauvinism and gerrymander have in common? They are all eponyms, or words derived from a person's name. Boycott comes from Charles C. Boycott, a land agent in Ireland who was ostracized by his community for unscrupulous business practices; chauvinism from Nicolas Chauvin, a soldier in Napoleon's army noted for loud-mouthed patriotism; and gerrymander from Elbridge Gerry (pictured), a governor of Massachusetts whose party redistricted the state in 1812.