word #24: subbrachiate (adj.)

adjective

  1. of a fish; subbrachial
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word #23: “peripeteia” (n)

noun. (literal Greek translation: “sudden change”)

  1. Peripeteia – or peripety – is a reversal of fortune; a fall. In drama, usually the sudden change of fortune from prosperity to ruin; but it can be the other way about. A much debated term, it was first used by Aristotle in Poetics (Chap. VI). The relevant passage, in Bywater’s translation, is:

[Peripety] is the change from one state of things within the play to its opposite of the kind described, and that too in the way we are saying, in the probable or necessary sequence of events; as it is for instance in Oedipus: here the opposite of things is produced by the Messenger, who, coming to gladden Oedipus and to remove his fears as to his mother, reveals the secret of his birth.

 

 

word #17: “moldiwarp” (n.)

noun.

  1. The European mole (talpa europaea).
  2. An underhand person; a sneak, a plotter, a spy.

Richard Burton prescribed other associative literary traits on the moldiwarp in his epic The Anatomy of Melancholy:

Be silent then, rest satisfied, desine, intuensque in aliorum infortunia solare mentem, comfort thyself with other men’s misfortunes, and, as the moldiwarp in Aesop told the fox, complaining for want of a tail, and the rest of his companions, Tacete, quando me oculis captum videtis, you complain of toys, but I am blind, be quiet; I say to thee, be thou satisfied

Can a name for an animal be an onomatopoeia ?

word #16: “mytacism” (n.)

noun.

  1. using the letter M incorrectly or to an extreme.

This has nothing to do with alliterative tongue-twisters, like reciting “A missing mixture measure” over and over. The OED offers the necessary context for such an obscure word:

In Latin prose composition: the pronunciation of a final m before a word beginning with a vowel, regarded as a fault by grammarians. Also: the placing of a word with a final m before a word with an initial m.

Interesting fact about Latin grammarians: the profession is not some continuation of Ancient Rome; they only came to exist after the civilization’s collapse. Thus, there is no actual authority on how to pronounce the language, only reasonable arguments that are hashed-out ad infinitum . Think about it: from California to Bangalore people read and write grammatically near-exact English, yet the spectrum of pronunciation and orality is as diverse as Kew Gardens. No one can see the word “Ladder” and figure folks in Chicago say “Lehteh” or that the correct way to say “water” in Philadelphia is “wüdder.”

This is why some words die.

word #15: “Ozymandias Melancholia” (n.)

noun; term coined by Woody Allen:

In Stardust Memories I used the term ‘Ozymandias Melancholia’. That’s a symptom I’ve invented that describes that phenomenon specifically, the realization that your works of art will not save you and will mean nothing down the line. Eventually, there won’t be any universe, so even all the works of Shakespeare and all the works of Beethoven will be gone.