Words You Have Taught Me — Jan 2020

#12 — a fresh start listicle

curated by Joe Váradi

Yes, I know, I know — I’ve been telling friends, peers and anyone who will listen that I had retired the #WYHTM series. And no, that wasn’t a publicity stunt. I really felt that after eleven installments the concept had run its course.

But then you all ruined it, by bombarding me with a fresh new wave of unfamiliar words and exotic expressions.

So — if Joaquin Phoenix can come out of self-imposed retirement and rebuild his career, then so can I resurrect this series.

Without further adieu — here is 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 …


(from Arabic) traditional cylindrical confections filled with dulce de leche, caramel, honey, nuts, jam, common throughout Latin America and Spain

from Flyingfoodie


consumption of the body’s own tissue as a metabolic process occurring in starvation and certain diseases

from Mehdi Yacoubi

biohacking (alternate definition)

as cooked up and explained by Sergey Bloom


a growth of trees or shrubs

one of those new terms that I can foresee using in my future poetry, from Michael Stang

Camellia sinensis

the species of plant whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce the popular beverage tea … a.k.a. tea plant, tea shrub, and tea tree

from Max Falkowitz

Cormorant Garamond

a font typeface I don’t recall using before, from Alison Zhang

Cyhydded Fer

a fancy Welsh name for a sonnet form that Zach describes as: 8-syllable lines, rhyme scheme AA BB CC DD EE FF GG

from Zach J. Payne


from Laura Sheridan, who uses eek four times in this Chaucer-tribute poem — she tells me it’s synonymous with “also”

Gallic shrug

a particularly aggressive shrug, involving pouting, tilting one’s head, raised eyebrows, etc. — yes, it’s an Anglo stereotype of the French

from Tom Hanratty

Generation Alpha

the one that comes after Gen Z … get it?

from Jeffrey Denny

harmonic mean

when good old averages and geometric means just can’t get it done

from Medium’s resident statistician and fellow word connoisseur Peter Flom

Holly Rood House

from Marilyn Flower

jamais vu

from Tabitha Wasserman


a long, single-edged sword used by Japanese samurai

from Stephen M. Tomic

Luristan newt

is a species of very colourful salamander, endemic to the southern Zagros Mountains (Lorestan province) in Iran where it is known from just four streams

from Catherine Elder

muscular hypertrophy

the growth and increase of the size of muscle cells; the most common type occurs as a result of physical exercise

from Zack Harris

otosclerosis and stapedectomy

otosclerosis — a hereditary disorder causing progressive deafness due to overgrowth of bone in the inner ear

stapedectomy — surgical removal and prosthetic replacement of part or all of the stapes to relieve deafness

from Bebe Nicholson


a small stream

from James Khan


the doctrine or belief that everything material, however small, has an element of individual consciousness

from Tam Hunt

the Potsdam führer

sobriquet of King Frederick William I of Prussia

from Tom Gregg


acuteness of mental discernment and soundness of judgment

from Iulia Halatz


the most popular holiday in the ancient Roman, the festival of Saturn in December, a period of general merrymaking that was the predecessor of Christmas

from Rachel Wayne


an amusing portmanteau mashup for the holidays

a great humor piece to go with it, from Meagan Kensil

trap music

read about it on runtherap.com

from Brian Brewington

VASCO Project

the Vanishing and Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations Project

from Popular Science


a North American pikeperch with large, opaque silvery eyes

from Mark Starlin



from Indira Reddy

Written by

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