Category Archives: wordies

A mild case of sesquipedaliophobia?

Usually, no one could accuse me of sesquipedaliophobia. I love long words. In the car this morning, I was thinking about unusual words which I love: crepuscular, schadenfreude, ghyll, avoirdupois, lamellar, peripatetic, fulgent

However, I don’t usually drop those words into my academic writing. I recognise that they are unusual words, and that there may be better words to use if I want to get my message across to a wide audience. “Restitution law is fulgent with promise.” Hmm, maybe not. Particularly if the present High Court has its wicked way (yah boo hiss!)

On that point, I was reading an academic treatise the other day, and I became very irritated. It was full of words which I had to look up in the dictionary: patrimonial loss (essentially a pecuniary loss), diorthotic (straightening out or correcting), synallagma (reciprocal obligations) and Thomistic (pertaining to the scholastic legal tradition of St Thomas Aquinas). I found this person’s work very difficult to read as a result. Yes, they’re interesting words, but why not just say “corrective” instead of “diorthotic”? Please shoot me if I use these words in any of my writing. There are times when you can over-indulge your love of complex words. 


Filed under academia, crazy stuff, wordies

Old fat spider spinning in a tree…

Anyone who knows me will know that I love Tolkien. And anyone who is a fellow Tolkien fan might find the title of this post reminiscent.

Do you remember the song Bilbo sang to the spiders in Mirkwood forest in The Hobbit?

Old fat spider spinning in a tree!
Old fat spider can’t see me!
Attercop! Attercop!
Won’t you stop,
Stop your spinning and look for me!

I found this delightful explanation of the word “attercop“. I always presumed it was made up; but no, it is still in use as a Yorkshire dialect word.  I think I like the word “attercoppaphobia” better than “arachnophobia”. Perhaps I shall try to introduce it to the English language.

(Via World Wide Words)

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We have just finished watching the craziness that is Eurovision. My friends “The Wordies” and I have been devotees of Eurovision for many years now. We love the kitsch factor. Our special favourites are: costume changes mid-act, strange dance routines, glittering costumes, terrible 80s outfits, odd costumes (like the “monsters” who won last year)  and crazy set machinery (like the guy last year who popped out of a piano at the end of a song).

We usually get together every year to watch the finals. The only condition is that everyone has to bring a European dish. This year, I made French onion soup. Now the whole house smells like onions. But at least it tasted pretty good.

I was slightly disappointed as far as kitsch value went. No one popped out of pianos. No one dressed in monster costumes. Okay, Belarus had an act which involved dancers suspended on moving screens, and Greece had a terribly cheesy fellow spinning on a black and white circle, but I was hoping for worse. For example, what about the time the Austrian animal activist chanted slogans in German while dancers dressed up as animals danced around him? Or the time the Israelis made three costume changes during the one song? Or the Lithuanians who sang “We Are the Winners of Eurovision”? The English entry was, as always, terrible, but in a cringe worthy rather than an amusing way. On a positive note, the French did not field a Celine Dion “sing-a-like entry” this year. Thank God for small mercies.

Serbia wins

This year, Serbia won. Serbia split from Montenegro last year after a disagreement over the choice of team. Marija Serifovic sang a love ballad in Serbo-Croat, surrounded by a group of beautiful women in men’s suits (official site here). The runner up was the Ukraine with a drag-queen in a silver outfit, with a mirror-ball headdress. (I’m glad the drag-queen did well, because apparently she had been threatened by Ukrainian far-right groups after it was announced that she was competing for Ukraine). I guess I can’t complain too much about the kitsch value when drag acts took first and second place!

My only disappointment lies in the fact that I’m a sucker for mid-song costume changes, and there weren’t any this year. The gothic costumes were also disappointing. The “vampire act” from Switzerland was apparently eliminated in the semi-final. Sweden’s act looked very gothic but sounded very mainstream.

Still, it’s an addiction, and I’m sure I’ll be back for more next year. (I hope there’s at least some mid-song costume changes. Or at least someone popping out of a piano.)

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For the Wordies

I have added a link to’s “Word of the Day” onto my blog.

I dedicate it to The Wordies, my favourite bunch of word-obsessed nerds.


I have also added A Word A Day to my blog because I liked their word today so much: omphaloskepsis – contemplation of one’s navel.

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