August 4, 2011


I’m revisiting Germaine Greer’s classic book “The Female Eunuch” published in 1971 and am being reminded once again of her command of vocabulary. I admit, I keep the dictionary beside me because I’m often stumped by a word I feel I should know but don’t. Here are three I recently came across:

Deliquesce – liquefy

Etiolate – make pale with darkness

Glabrous – smooth, free from hair

I must have looked these words up when I first read Greer’s book in the 70’s but as they aren’t among my everyday vocabulary, I’d forgotten them.

It’s hard enough to keep up with the established words — which are over a million — and learn those that are being created almost every day. Recently, I read that 50 new words have been added to the dictionary (“AARP Bulletin,” Jan-Feb, 2011, pg. 43).

(Yahoo Images)

Here are a few of the most interesting ones:

Automagically – automatic in a way that seems magical

Hypermilling – altering a car to maximize its fuel economy

Meme – image, video or phrase passed along electronically

Here’s a new version of an old word:

Pimp—as a verb means to make showy (Note: Pimp as a noun, it means something else entirely.).

As I write these words my spell-check program is going crazy. Even my computer is having trouble keeping up with our language. I guess I won’t blame myself for feeling overleveraged.*

*(New word meaning to take on too much)