February 2013 Words of the Day

February 1, 2013

Complacency (noun)

a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self- satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.

The complacency of college students is only realized upon the stark reality of the unemployment rate that awaits their graduation.

February 2, 2013

Apathetic (adjective)

having or showing little or no emotion: apathetic behavior.

not interested or concerned; indifferent or unresponsive: an apathetic audience.

The poor turnout at the polls for the presidential election was blamed on the apathetic citizens who had lost hope in their government.

February 3, 2013

Phlegmatic (adjective)

not easily excited to action or display of emotion; apathetic; sluggish.

self-possessed, calm, or composed.

The political candidate was so calm he appeared to be phlegmatic; however, once aroused, he was highly motivated to win the voters’ respect.

February 4, 2013

dissolution (noun)

termination of a formal or legal relationship; the act or process of dissolving; the undoing or breaking of a bond, tie union or partnership.

Word Origin & History

c.1400, “separation into parts.” This would be indicated by separating my stuff from his stuff, and all the stuff that he called his but was truly mine.

The marriage became an intolerable situation and was therefore brought to court for dissolution.

February 5, 2013

profligate (adjective)

shamelessly immoral or debauched

He had become a profilgate person and unworthy of the title of her husband.

February 6, 2013

defenestration (noun)

The act of throw someone or something out of a window.

Perhaps criminals would think twice before committing crimes if one of the methods of punishment included defenestration from the rooftops of very tall buildings, such as the Empire State Building

February 7, 2013

cleave (verb)

This is an interesting word. The two possible definitions are opposite in meaning. I believe it’s the only word in the English language that has opposite meanings. Check it out and let me know if I am right.

1. to separate, split, or divide (get it? like a meat cleaver!)

2. to cling; to adhere closely; to join together; to remain faithful

1. The butcher cleaved the meat into two perfect steaks that were fit for a king’s meal.

2. When two people marry, they are to cleave together for the rest of their lives.

*Buttons do a wonderful job of illustrating this word. Button your shirt and it cleaves shut. Unbutton your shirt and it cleaves open.

February 8, 2013

pleonasm (noun)

the use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; redundancy (true fact, free gift) (my friend RK’s opinion of this page!)

College students often commit pleonasm due to their inexperience as writers, and often as a result of consulting a thesaurus.

February 9, 2013

misanthrope (noun)

a person who dislikes or distrusts other people or mankind in general

“What is an atheist, but one who does not, or will not, see in the universe a ruling principle of love; and what a misanthrope, but one who does not, or will not, see in man a ruling principle of kindness?” ~Herman Melville
Read more at http://quotes.dictionary.com/search/misanthrope+?page=1#0LZxheB3Rr1U2eJH.99

February 10, 2013

copacetic (adjective) (slang)

completely satisfactory; fine; ok

After the child’s temper tantrum, he returned to a copacetic state of being relieving all within earshot.

February 11, 2013

passhole (noun) (slang-from UrbanDictionary.com)

1. The idiot drivers that move steadily along, but suddenly increase speed when they wake up and realize you are passing them. If they succeed in blocking your opportunity to pass, they will immediately resume the former, annoying pace. If you pass them successfully, they will ride your bumper for a short time before returning to la-la land.

2. A driver who solicits road rage, either deliberately or from brainlessness, by remaining in the passing lane exactly adjacent to the vehicle in the lane beside them, thus preventing free flow of traffic.

Driving north on I-75 from Ocala, Florida for the next 50 miles, a passhole kept the flow of traffic under 60 mph until he was successfully passed and given the driving finger salute by all those who were reigned in line behind him.

*true story of which I was a victim last week

February 12, 2013

syzygy (noun)

*the only word in the English language with three Ys! This was a jeopardy question this week – all three contestants missed it.

In astronomy – the alignment of three celestial objects, as the sun, the earth, and either the moon or a planet.

I much prefer syzygy occurring in the celestial bodies to Mercury’s retrograde which causes disruption across the earth.

February 13, 2013

swoon (verb, noun)


1. to faint; lose consciousness

2. to enter a state of hysterical rapture or ecstasy


a faint or fainting fit

Immediately upon the rising of the stage curtain, several young girls swooned at the sight of Justin Bieber.

February 14, 2013

agape (noun)

1. the love of God or Christ for humankind

2. the love of Christians for other persons which corresponds to the love of God for humankind

3. unselfish love of one person for another without sexual implications – brotherly love.

If everyone in the world could only love with agape love, crime would surely come to a standing halt.

February 15, 2013

morose (adjective)

gloomily or sullenly ill-humored, a person or mood;

characterized by or expressing gloom.

Of late, the storms, dark clouds, cold temperatures, and continued forecasts of nasty weather have created a morose mindset of which I find difficult to escape.

February 16, 2013

cognate (adjective)

related by birth; having the same parentage, descent; allied or similar in nature or quality; descended from the same language or form; a person or thing cognate with another

“The ideal and the beautiful are identical; the ideal corresponds to the idea, and beauty to form; hence idea and substance are cognate.” ~ Victor Hugo

Read more at http://quotes.dictionary.com/the_ideal_and_the_beautiful_are_identical_the#zWpvcE9Ulpm3e00B.99

February 17, 2013

chimera (noun)

1. a fire-breathing monster commonly represented with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail (mythological)

2. any similarly grotesque monster having disparate parts, especially as depicted in decorative art.

3. a horrible or unreal creature of the imagination

4. Genetics. an organism composed of two or more genetically distinct tissues, as an organism that is partly male and partly female, or an artificially produced individual having tissues of several species.

The surgeon’s nightmare seemed all too real when the chimera he created in the lab came to life and nearly killed him before his trusty assistant, Egore, shot it with the tranquilizer gun.

February 18, 2013

farrago (noun)

a confused mixture; hodgepodge; medley

This list seems to be turning into a farrago; perhaps I should have a theme for the words in a month?

February 19, 2013

ecdysiast (noun)

a strip-tease artist

Many ecdysiasts are misplaced college graduates who cannot find jobs; others are merely people who enjoy catering to voyeurs or sexual deviants.

February 20, 2013

gregarious (adjective)

seeking and enjoying the company of others; tending to join in groups with others of the same kind

Middle school children are at a gregarious time in their lives as they seek their own place in their own society.

February 21, 2013

fallible (adjective)

liable to make a mistake

It is the fallible nature of humankind to continue the quest for perfection, even though that in itself is a fallible notion. 

February 22, 2013

permeate (verb)

To spread or diffuse through; to pass through the pores or openings of

The awful smell of the papermill permeated through the car as we passed through Brunswick, Georgia.

February 23, 2013

euphonious (adjective)

Pleasing or sweet in sound; smooth-sounding

Nature’s nightly euphonious concert permeated my bedroom at night and lulled me to sleep while the creatures in my pool performed only for me. 

FEBRUARY 26, 2013   

Neologism  (noun)

1. a new word, meaning, usage, or phrase.

2. the introduction or use of new words or new senses of existing words.

3. a new doctrine, especially a new interpretation of sacred writings.

4. (Psychiatry) a new word, often consisting of a combination of other words, that is understood only by the speaker: occurring most often in the speech of schizophrenics

China Mieville, whose new book Railsea is in my Book Review section, is an expert in neologism. 


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