Words You Have Taught Me — May 2018

#2 — a mid-spring listicle

by Joe Váradi

On the heels of last December’s warmly received and engaged-with inaugural edition, I’ll make this post a recurring tradition. Not on any particular schedule, but whenever I have enough for a new batch.

Which also makes this a call to action — in the future, if you come across new & interesting vocabulary on this site, please send me a note, in a private message or by commenting below. Help me crowd-source the next #WYHTM listicle!

I didn’t want to have to rank or pick favorites so I’m going alphabetically this time. Also, a disclaimer — not sure why I feel I need to say this — not all the words are English.

bream & budgie smuggler

Matt Querzoli leading us off with a twofer, and a dreamy head trip of a story that made me realize Matt is very Aussie …

bream — a broad category of freshwater and marine fish

budgie smuggler — Australian slang term for men’s tight-fitting Speedo-style swimwear. The ‘lump in the front’ apparently resembles a budgie …

ps: what’s a budgie you ask? look it up 😉


Spanish for wizard, sorcerer. From Stephen M. Tomic’s totally woke fairy tale:

bullet journal

Since I try to avoid self-help posts like the plague, it’s no surprise that I came across this term in a satirical piece, which I am more likely to click & read, by Kyrie Gray. Later I found that there are reams of how-to posts on bullet journals.


From Julia Belozersky’s fun and fashionable travel essay about a few days in Sydney.


From Tammy J Rizzo’s collection of grammatical bar jokes — chiasmus is a rhetorical or literary construct in which phrases or concepts are repeated in reverse order.

Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor


Sravani Saha taking out her recurring frustrations on bulbous vegetables.

cruciferous — denoting plants of the cabbage family, including cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts


From Mal c.H’s poem by the same name. Later I found usage by Mary Holden, here, and Boluwatife Afolabi , here.

(of a pod or seed vessel, or of a cut or wound) to gape or burst open


Mike Brennan, sorry that you suffered from this, but it prompted you to create an incredible body of work …


april lavalle — thanks for sharing!

an irrational fear of vomit and vomiting


From Mike Essigicy, frigid

… gelid distortions of a cold, miserly universe


From Michele Leavitt … a lot of brainy stuff here, from the Sapphic meter to why you should visit the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida, to a large order of insects comprising wasps, bees and ants known as hymenoptera.


The Japanese term that attempts to wrap up sense of purpose, reason for being, and joy of life — yeah, pretty ambitious. Spun into a writing prompt by Ryan Hussey at The Bigger Picture.


Maybe not a word, yet, technically, officially, but it is a pretty neologism that describes the pleasure of being alone, being left alone. From Giulia Listo’s poem:


From Hilal Isler's first-hand account of the captive princesses of Saudi Arabia. Quoting Wikipedia:

a composite material used in fine arts, crafts, and construction. It consists of a gypsum-based material in an acrylic resin


This article by Daniel Nester is from 2016 … popped up in my feed in April of 2018. But I love the word, I love the concept, and I think I’ll get some real mileage out of it when describing some of my favorite songs.

the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession

ps: I’ll give a shout-out here to Sara Bareilles, who uses this technique brilliantly in I Choose You (hint for the impatient: it starts at 0:52)


Thanks Mike Range — glad I read this piece to the last word.


If you are Catholic and thinking, how could this guy not have known this … I am not. But whether or not you are familiar with the lingo, this essay by The Couch Tamale (Tom Cendejas) is an insightful peek into Catholic same-sex schools:


Benjamin Oblerpshaw! I’m still not convinced this is a real word, but whoa it’s in the dictionary?! AS IF …!

(interjection) used to express irritation, disapproval, contempt, or disbelief

also from Urban Dictionary:

a word used when you don’t know what else to say


From Jorge Q. broken — just read this


German word for longing, pining, but in an eternally inexplicable, German kind of way. Thanks Jack.


Another one from Kyrie. It’s a kind of seal-human mermaid / merman of Scottish-Gaelic legend. Honorable mention: Eve Moran separately wrote a Series featuring a selkie.

a mythical creature that resembles a seal in the water but assumes human form on land

slough & hagfish

(especially when used in the same sentence)

From Oliver “Shiny” Blakemore — riffing on Gary Vaynerchuk …

sloughs off fatigue like a hagfish sloughs off freaky mutant goop


A triangular figure composed of ten points arranged neatly in rows — and also 20-syllable poetic form that appears to be quite popular as of late. I will call out two poets whose work caught my attention: Indira Reddy and Ashwini:


No, not that trump. Allow Sylvia Clare to explain:

a rather wet reverberating passing of wind anally. A giant fart, of the kind you don’t want to follow through on, or rather hope it won’t


via Anneyé Blanco — in a lovely, layered composition that shows off both her writing and her sketching skills …

and a bonus, this is going way back to 2017 — I had it in mind but couldn’t find it when I was writing last year’s column (plus, the author was already represented):


Some kind of leafy shade-tolerant plant that you’d have to be a gardener to have heard of. More importantly, Meg weaved it into a chock-full-of-puns piece that is still one of the funniest things I’ve read on this site:

Thanks for your attention, we’ll meet back here in a few months!

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

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