Words: Jan 27 to Jan 29

Let me say how light-heartedly enjoyable my ten minutes a day of word appreciation are. Once you look, wonderful words abound around us.

Jan 27: Poole’s word is festinate, that is, to hurry but delicately, I guess without blundering forward like one of Tolkien’s ogres. Often I like to festinate my work along; shoving at it produces panic in me. And I came across obsecrate, a rare (but unlike Poole’s word, “alive” word) synonym for beseech. Oh, verily, I obsecrate you, lower your voice.

Jan 28: Poole’s finifugal used to mean “having a horror of endings.” We all know a finifugal friend who can’t bring herself to leave. My word is milieu. I can never stop myself from telling friends that the setting for my mystery novels is the city of Melbourne, but their milieu is the rarefied world of high finance.

Jan 29: If you were callipygian, Poole relates (his most recent example being from 1912, which is recent for him), you were “blessed with beautiful buttocks,” but the term also has a more general feel of prudish disgust. For my part, I was knocked over to discover there is an actual word, foofaraw, that not only sounds like a sumptuous cross between furore and free-for-all, but is actually more subtle, “a great fuss or disturbance about something very insignificant.” People around me seem to be always engaged in foofaraws.

Source: A Word for Every Day of the Year by Steven Poole.

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