I have been doing a good bit of reading lately, staying inside during these bone-breaking days.
Leaving the TV news off most of the time has been a really good thing for my psyche as I journey to places like Los Angeles, California; Clanton, Mississippi; and Israel courtesy of some favorite authors.
I did make some photos of eye-popping sunsets that soothed my creative side and, like many folks my age, grabbed a nap or two near the fire.
During one quick scan of some news sites on my phone, I encountered some new words I had not seen previously, which led to more research on really long words that I, nor most people I know, would ever use.
That got me to opining on our favorite quiz show, Jeopardy, and its really tough category that pops up from time to time — 13 letter words. So, off I flew to the Googlemeister to prepare this week’s column.
Thank you, Dewey, for bearing with me many times on my forays into words that probably don’t interest many others, but give me something to parse out when I have an impending deadline.
So, faithful readers, I hope you and I can one day incorporate one of these gems into a casual conversation, and impress anyone who might be listening.
• flexatarian — someone who is a flexible or non-rigid vegetarian.
• pescatarian — someone who loves to eat fish.
• neoteric — any idea that is new to anyone else.
• clade — a group of organisms from the same phylogenetic tree. (What?)
• syllabication — forming words into syllables. (Judi said this recently to our granddaughters while discussing words.)
• factorisation — resolution of an integer or polynomial.
• plasmodesmata — narrow thread of cytoplasm in adjacent cells of plants.
• ratiocination — logical reasoning.
• indefatigable — sustained enthusiastic activity or vitality.
• consanguinity — related by blood.
• pusillanimous — lacking in courage.
• stoichiometry — the relation between quantities of substances that take part in a reaction.
• intercalation — an insertion into a calendar.
• achromatopsia — condition of partial or total loss of color vision.
• agglomeration — the art of collecting masses of things.
• peregrination — travel, especially on foot.
Perhaps the only 13 letter word I grasped out of the hundreds I looked at is “grandchildren.”
At least I can correctly say it and I definitely know what it means and I will have no trouble forever using it in casual conversation. Until next time: “Speak English,” said the Eaglet. “I don’t know the meaning of half these long words, and I don’t believe you do either.” — Lewis Carroll
“Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.” — William Safire
“The secret of being boring is to say everything.” — Voltaire
Dr. Shelley Griffith is a retired Athens physician who writes this column for The DPA