Words You Have Taught Me — April 2019

source: http://www.magamitakartok.hu/szaloncukor, edited with Pixlr

compiled by Joe Váradi

The latest in literary lingo, journalist jargon, author’s argot and pencil pusher pidgin that I soaked up here since the last time we did this … I’ve been on a self-imposed near-hiatus from Medium in recent weeks, so harvesting this collection has taken a bit longer than usual.

My gratitude as always to the veteran contributors — you know who you are — as well as to authors I’m featuring for the first time.

affective presence

the personality trait of how a person makes others feel — ranges from negative or positive, and stronger in some while weaker in others

from The Atlantic

Alcubierre warp drive & EmDrive

Alcubierre drive — (Wikipedia) a speculative idea based on a solution of Einstein’s field equations in general relativity as proposed by Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre, by which a spacecraft could achieve apparent faster-than-light travel if a configurable energy-density field lower than that of vacuum (that is, negative mass) could be created

EmDrive — short for “electromagnetic drive”, for details see this fascinating article

from Ella Alderson


an exponential function that is the sum of two other exponential functions

by Oleg Sobchuk


(verb, slang) Urban Dictionary: To keep something all for oneself, thus depriving anyone else of having any. A slang term derived from the last name of famous actor Humphrey Bogart because he often kept a cigarette in the corner of his mouth, seemingly never actually drawing on it or smoking it

from Lauren Elizabeth


“Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” — a movement that targets businesses and organizations deemed complicit in Israel’s known and alleged human rights violations against Palestinians

from Kent Kroeger


Cycle Messenger World Championship

from Lee Basford

Dunning-Kruger effect

a form of cognitive bias where people who are least competent at a particular skill tend to incorrectly rate themselves as higher-than-average performers because they are too ignorant to know otherwise

from Jeffrey Denny


a sudden and favorable resolution of events in a story; a surprise happy ending

from marjorie steele

glo up

(slang) from Urban Dictionary: when someone becomes really attractive after they hit puberty

from Isabel Hope, and a shout-out to Afy


relating to the state of mind immediately before falling asleep

from Merry Mercurial


a type of Japanese bar in which a variety of small, typically inexpensive, dishes and snacks are served to accompany the alcoholic drinks

from Alexandro Chen

M&C Meeting

“ministry and council meeting” serving a Quaker community; a forum for addressing issues and resolving conflicts within the congregation

from Kylin Vandermeer


veined or streaked like marble

from Joel Sucher

mind sphincter

… is a term Sarah Lofgren made up to describe how her brain works when nursing a cold. I think it’s brilliant and should become a household term.


of high-altitude clouds, consisting of ice crystals, visible during the short night of the summer

from Anna D. Invernizzi (thanks for the recommend, Jack)

Oamaru limestone

a hard, compact limestone, quarried at Weston, near Oamaru in Otago, New Zealand

from Mary Jane Walker


correctness in action and conduct — in the context of religion, can be contrasted with orthodoxy, or adherence to faith, belief, ritualism

from Darcy Reeder


repetition of a word or phrase for emphasis

from Michele Sharpe


(from German) an inept chess player

from Zachary Snowdon Smith


Pertaining to government or dominance by males.

from the same story already referenced above, by Jeffrey Denny


the rudimentary shoot or stem of an embryo plant

from Michael Stang


a vain or conceited person, especially one who dresses or behaves extravagantly

from Meg


the period of about six weeks after childbirth during which the mother’s reproductive organs return to their original nonpregnant condition

from Kim Allen


the muscular opening in vertebrates from the stomach into the small intestine

from Stephen M. Tomic


a hallucinogenic compound, produced by over 200 species of mushrooms

from Stephen M. Tomic


(Arabic) a marketplace in northern Africa or the Middle East, or a stall in such a marketplace

from the 2 interculturalists, Erin & Nael


whispering, murmuring,rustling

from Christyl Rivers, Phd.


the ancient Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility, typically depicted as a bipedal female hippopotamus with feline attributes

from Tim Gihring at Minneapolis Institute of Art

termination shock

best explained by Alexander C. Kaufman below:


an herbal tea, originally made with barley

from Robyn Jane

vesica piscis

a pointed oval shape formed by the intersection of two disks with the same radius, intersecting in such a way that the center of each disk lies on the perimeter of the other

from Lise Colas


use flattery or coaxing in order to persuade someone to do something

from Stuart James

… and the bonus,

a blast from the past, April 2017 to be precise, some time before I joined Medium:


a literary construct where words are repeated in successive clauses, but in transposed order, as in “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” or the famous JFK line “ask not what your country can do for you …

Analogous to but not the same as a chiasmus, a term that I learned from Tammy in episode #2 of #WYHTM.

from Alan Cooper



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Joe Váradi

Editor of No Crime in Rhymin' and Language Lab | ..."come for the sarcasm, stay for my soft side"