Word of the semi-week: gelid!

Well, I’ve been very derelict in my duties recently.  Family time has eaten up all my energy, and I have eaten more than my share.  But I’m back, and in honor of the huge cold monster bearing down upon practically the whole of North America, I give you this semi-week’s word: gelid.

It’s essentially an adjective for “extremely cold”, and it comes to us from the Latin gelu for “frost”.  You’ll be seeing some of my pictures of this immense gelu pretty soon.

I am not very good at making snow men, as you’ll see.  What I made was more a tiny snow Jabba the Hutt.

Word of the semi-week: a lacuna of sorts

Since I’ve been delinquent for the last week, I thought it fitting to post, not a word, but the lack of a word.

Not only can I not find this word in English (which glorious edifice appears dense and solid, but is as an atomic honeycomb upon close inspection), but I can’t find it in any other language, to my knowledge.

What I’m looking for is the opposite of irony.  The problem is that the word “irony” is (ironically?) often used for this concept, but in fact it’s just the opposite:  it’s something so absurdly fitting that it should hardly exist in the real world.  As any child knows, irony is what happens when something is darkly and/or humorously opposite to what you’d expect.  Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t want “irony” to be a contronym!  Poetic justice is a subset of this–the arsonist who dies in a fire, the guy who’s afraid to fly and dies on his first plane trip, etc.  I think this is a concept potent and elegant enough to deserve a distinct form.

What do you say?  Is there such a word, and have I just missed it so far in my verbal sojourns?  Comment and let me know!


Word of the semi-week: debarrass

This semi-week’s word (also courtesy of the Phrontistery) is of particular delight to me because it’s a word I wanted to exist, but didn’t think did.  You see, I studied French (among other things), and “se débarrasser de” means, roughly, “to get rid of”.  So some interesting second language effects happened in my brain, and I started thinking that “debarrass” was an English word for “get rid of”.  It turns out I was right!  I was just browsing the Phrontistery’s D index and happened upon this French orphelin [=orphan].  It was very gratifying to me.

The English meaning isn’t exactly “get rid of” (it’s “to disembarrass; disentangle; free”), but I’ll take it.



I promise to get some actual writing or pithy commentary out there soon.  Does anyone know a big word for “procrastination”?