qms has looked up 6314 words, created 6 lists, listed 189 words, written 1061 comments, added 0 tags, and loved 73 words.

Comments by qms

  • The logophile suffers a curse
    That tolerance only makes worse.
    In keeping with talion
    The sesquipedalian
    Is sentenced to writing in verse.

    October 4, 2015

  • If a wide oscillation's a seesaw
    And a wild celebration a ree-raw
    A laugh uninhibited
    With tonsils exhibited
    Can fairly be labeled a hee-haw.

    October 3, 2015

  • The truth must at last be admitted:
    Though Donald is beaming and nitid
    Good opinion goes south
    When he opens his mouth
    To leave not a doubt he's half-witted.

    October 2, 2015

  • A worm is indifferent to poesy;
    His interests are mundane and prosy,
    But he will be furious
    If you call him incurious,
    Ignoring his deep geognosy.

    October 1, 2015

  • A scrivening monk would come to grief
    Illuminating a sacred leaf
    Unless his amygdala
    Are stocked with the sigla
    To ornament but keep it brief.

    September 30, 2015

  • It was spit when I was in school
    Or spawl from the mouth of a fool.
    It's sheerest sciolism
    To call it ptyalism
    When all of us know it's just drool.

    September 29, 2015

  • Though Franklin was pleased to ignite
    The colonists' spirit to fight,
    When not incendiary
    Old Ben was very merry -
    A maker of mischief, a riggite.

    September 28, 2015

  • The mourner should master a medium
    And grieve in a coherent idiom:
    The coronach's wail
    The flagellant's flail
    Or stately and slow epicedium.

    September 27, 2015

  • In sudden pastoral reversal
    The congregants suffered dispersal.
    The shepherd's de-flocked
    As all of them walked
    And left hm without any hersil.

    September 26, 2015

  • In Keats's Isabella, or The Pot of Basil, which has received some attention in this forum (see comments at swelt), Isabella digs up her murdered lover's body, decapitates it and buries the head in a plant pot in which she then grows a basil plant. It's enough to turn you off pesto genovese.

    She buried his head (why, I know not)
    And basil was fed on its slow rot.
    Now mixed with cut flowers
    That sweet scent empowers
    Lorenzo to breathe from the beau-pot.

    September 25, 2015

  • A termagant's small supellectiles
    Should mainly be baskets and textiles.
    It's best to take care
    To keep the house bare
    Of heavy potential projectiles.

    September 24, 2015

  • Another article with some useful links. It seems that 421 is the official tally, but you have to be careful with those canny Scots.


    September 23, 2015

  • At last those damn Inuits get their comeuppance!

    Scots 'have 421 words' for snow

    September 23, 2015

  • The Chinese are a numerous crew
    So intimate moments are few,
    But on top of a kang
    They'll bed a whole gang!
    Who knows what adventures ensue?

    September 23, 2015

  • snuffbox

    September 23, 2015

  • Once thought consigned to history's mist
    Some notions, like zombies, persist;
    Thus silver and gold
    Have a mystical hold
    On the mind of the credulous bullionist.

    September 22, 2015

  • No chance for more sanctity’s lost,
    So meals of the monks are not sauced
    Except by what's heard -
    The seasoning Word
    In the voice of the mild anagnost.

    September 21, 2015

  • The fat man's preferred diagnosis
    Is news that he's got adiposis;
    Another, though bruised,
    Is downright enthused
    If told he endures ecchymosis.

    September 20, 2015

  • A gnome alone wants his own bride.
    (It's bliss to be wed, goes the bromide.)
    But search as he might
    The chances are slight
    The garden will harbor a gnomide.

    The only pronunciation guidance I can find for this word in English is the OED's /ˈnəʊmɪd/, which can be rendered "gnome-id." When googled the word appears most often in French texts. It seems to be a direct borrowing from French and if the French pronunciation is used it would be "gnome-eed." However in English the overwhelming number of words ending in "-ide" are pronounced as in "ride." This last sounds most natural to me; I prefer it and declare the word domesticated. Should there be a general outcry to protest this decision I will reconsider.

    September 19, 2015

  • I would have thought that this word describes the direction of the spawning salmon in an Alaskan river.

    September 18, 2015

  • In journalism one-hundred-one
    The tyros are taught how it's done:
    The Time mag old schema
    Needs epiphonema
    So every piece ends with a pun.

    September 18, 2015

  • Who answers the socialist call
    Can remain a sciolist, withal,
    Supplying the peasantry
    With generous pedantry -
    A man of the people and know-it-all.

    September 17, 2015

  • You may well disparage the nihilist
    But I rank him less than the vilest.
    I prefer abnegation
    To smug affectation -
    The insufferable sin of the sciolist.

    September 17, 2015

  • Most infants are given to yawnage;
    It's parcel of life's sleepy dawnage.
    What seems impolite
    In them is all right,
    For rude is the rule in one's nonage.

    September 16, 2015

  • A wise man instructing young folk
    Succeeds with a humorous stroke.
    He knows a few tricks
    Promoting maieutics,
    Like cracking an ingenious joke.

    September 15, 2015

  • Opinions of value can clash-
    My gold to you is dust and ash
    And your ejectamenta
    Turns my impedimenta
    If left to tempt me in your trash.

    September 14, 2015

  • The fragile and homeless Eugenia
    Awaiting the next neomenia
    Must monthly depend
    On folks who extend
    The comfort of sheltering xenia.

    Find Eugenia's peculiar affliction explained in comments at neomenia..

    September 13, 2015

  • It's odd how indulgence alcoholic
    Can mix the manic and melancholic,
    How sadness and cheer
    Combine in a beer.
    The stuff is downright amphibolic.

    September 12, 2015

  • It's easy for a skunk to live
    Secure while he has funk to give.
    Who'd dare interrupt
    Before he's well supped?
    His foraging can be cunctative.

    September 11, 2015

  • When pirates have counted the dead
    And drunk to the full and been fed,
    The gossoon and scullion
    Will quaff their rumbullion
    And stumble off witless to bed.

    See also rumbo.

    September 10, 2015

  • Celebrities, when they go out,
    Expect the loud, unruly rout.
    They pretend to shudder
    At such vulgar pudder
    But silence sows the seeds of doubt.

    September 9, 2015

  • A teacher, a coach or a mentor
    Converts the doubter to assenter.
    The team that she leads
    Cooperatively heeds
    So eccentric courses concenter.

    September 8, 2015

  • When you're caught doing this you know urine trouble.

    September 8, 2015

  • In politics his preferred angle
    Is not to skewer but to mangle
    By spewing barrages
    Of spurious charges
    With loads of rhetorical langrel.

    September 7, 2015

  • If science cannot sell the pill
    Inspiring chronicles will.
    The craftiest salesman
    Is also a talesman,
    Like Mehmet Oz, the medical shill.

    September 6, 2015

  • The pundits treat each perturbation
    As though an omen for the nation,
    But surely they mock us
    With the Iowa caucus,
    That farcical rustic velitation.

    September 5, 2015

  • Her vanity's said to be total,
    Though evidence is anecdotal.
    To capture her glory
    (So goes the story)
    Her mirrors must be holophotal.

    September 4, 2015

  • With Summer's end at long last come
    It's back to the book and the sum.
    Oh, pity the dolors
    Of unwilling scholars,
    Their once merry faces grown grum.

    September 3, 2015

  • Be calm and please give me your trust:
    While, true, it's a pest-laden gust,
    Palynology's not
    The horror you thought,
    But knowledge of organic dust.

    September 2, 2015

  • Riverdale from Archie comics.

    September 1, 2015

  • Doab is a Word of the Day selection to sow confusion in the minds of weary rhymers:

    1. I think I have identified five accepted pronunciation of the word: dew ab/ub, dough ab/ub, or as one syllable to rhyme with globe.

    2. Every usage example on the Wordnik page is from Flashman and the Mountain of Light. I love the Flashman novels but would prefer more illuminating illustration than G.M. Fraser's infatuation with the word.

    3. From Wikipedia:
    "Doab is a term used in India and Pakistan for the "tongue," or tract of land lying between two converging, or confluent, rivers."
    The notion of a tract of land defined by rivers that converge (that is, that are not parallel) seems to me crucial, but it is missing from the Wordnik definitions. It is the reverse of a delta.

    4. The Century is the only dictionary to mention the Irish clay definition. I suspect a confusion with daub.

    The feeble old swagman has dreams:
    Through haze in his memory it seems
    He sits by a boab
    In some Western doab
    And watches the commingling streams.

    September 1, 2015

  • Adansonia gregorii, commonly known as the boab, is a tree in the family Malvaceae. As with other baobabs, it is easily recognised by the swollen base of its trunk, which forms a massive caudex, giving the tree a bottle-like appearance. Endemic to Australia, boab occurs in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, and east into the Northern Territory.

    I am surprised at this omission in Wordnik. I would have expected bilby to have unearthed it in the course of Aussification patrol.

    September 1, 2015

  • Most boy bands are generally bad
    But pleasures are nonetheless had.
    A good-looking callant
    Has no need of talent;
    The girls will still swoon - lucky lad!

    August 31, 2015

  • An unhappy sperm can trash a yacht;
    Those fierce white teeth can gnash a lot.
    Recall Ahab's leg,
    That cold wooden peg
    He got for offending a cachalot.

    August 30, 2015

  • So oligarchs might merrily frolic
    We worship the extractive Moloch.
    We blast and we drill
    The ore from the hill
    And fill up the valleys with mullock.

    August 29, 2015

  • If monkeys in infinite number
    Should type without ceasing for slumber
    They well might emit
    A like sum of shit
    But Spamski's would still be the dumber.

    August 29, 2015

  • Compare with triangulation, a term recently popular in politics. It means the finding of a “third” or “middle” way. It is most closely associated with the Clinton administration and it implies either a willingness to compromise or an abandonment of principle, depending on your point of view. The usage examples at triangulation are instructive.

    August 28, 2015

  • In youth Ernest posed as a toughie-
    Laconic, disheveled and scruffy,
    But the act was belied
    By the cherub inside
    Revealed in his cheeks pink and chuffy.

    Find out more about Ernest Bafflewit

    August 28, 2015

  • Find out more about Ernest Bafflewit

    August 28, 2015

  • Poor Ernest obsessively punned -
    A habit he ought to have shunned -
    For rapier wit
    Expended on it
    Will wear out and tend to retund.

    August 27, 2015

  • Her garden relentlessly draws her
    It's care is her joy, not a bother.
    It is all-consuming
    From planting to blooming
    And veg gathered in by the fother.

    August 26, 2015

  • When the jumper has tired of soaring
    And touring on skis becomes boring
    He'll harness his nag
    For a midwinter drag
    And dodge shit for a day of skijoring.

    August 25, 2015

  • Slumry, thank you! The list of mixed metaphors is great. Years ago, when I was a TA in an English department, we grad students compiled such a list from student papers, but it was much shorter and my ancient ink-on-paper version vanished long ago.

    I am going to save this until December and use it for Christmas presents.

    August 24, 2015

  • If a coprophage had all his wishes
    What meal would he find most delicious?
    Would He eat Polish spam
    Or would gówno with jam
    Be the most excrementitious?

    August 24, 2015

  • Are you sure it's safe to talk to them, ruzuzu? Isn't it a bit like standing outside the monkey cage, pointing and saying, "Oh, what a lovely piece of feces!"

    I could not find a specific-excrement entry for "monkey shit" but I did discover that the Polish for shit is gówno. Please make good use of it.

    August 24, 2015

  • Politicians never have lacked
    Opinions in absence of fact.
    The taunt and the gibe
    Are arms of the tribe
    And ignorance their cataphract.

    To honor the spirit of kindly fellowship which ordinarily characterizes this forum I have used the generic term “politicians” in this limerick, although it is unfair to tar them all with the same brush. Readers may substitute the name of any faction they choose to give the verse more piquancy. I have one in my mind for circulation elsewhere. (It scans better too.)

    August 24, 2015

  • The French of a mess make pastiche,
    From eggs - a soufflé or a quiche.
    Should a poster aspire
    To dignity higher
    A canny artiste makes affiche.

    August 23, 2015

  • Unless, of course, they are Jewish, in which case they would be wugim.

    August 22, 2015

  • When young I thought old age a menace
    But wiser now I shrewdly senesce.
    If victory's spelt
    By the next card dealt,
    I'll take the last trick with my tenace.

    August 22, 2015

  • Legit or not I do not know
    So prudence points one way to go:
    The rare "paper-and"
    Is, I understand,
    An Inuit word meaning "snow."

    August 22, 2015

  • Aquinas, an obese Dominican,
    Thought excess had hardly been a sin
    True, many acts oral
    Were greatly immoral
    But gluttony merely a minikin.

    August 21, 2015

  • Dear Spamski, a tip of my cap,
    And thanks to the translator app!
    Your offer's obscure
    But one thing's for sure:
    You've emitted some mighty claptrap!

    August 20, 2015

  • Be watchful! The fiend spreads his seed!
    Take care you not nurture that weed
    And sicken perhaps
    From such an illapse.
    'Twould be a most ill lapse indeed.

    August 20, 2015

  • Oh, Spamski, your own deeds accuse you,
    But think not that I shall abuse you.
    Your fate is much worse
    Than a few lines of verse.
    Prepare for the wrath of ruzuzu!

    August 19, 2015

  • Each tumbrel its despairing bundles
    To death by the blade slowly trundles.
    At Guillotine's ladder
    What effort is sadder
    Than climbing of those bloody rundles.

    August 19, 2015

  • comandra
    Comandra is a monotypic genus containing the single species Comandra umbellata. Its common names include bastard toadflax, umbellate bastard toadflax, and common comandra. The plant has a disjunct distribution; its four subspecies occur in North America and the Mediterranean.

    Bastard Toadflax would make an excellent name for a comic book villain. Bastard Toadflux would be even better.

    August 19, 2015

  • Proszę, ruzuzu.

    August 18, 2015

  • Despite the tall cap on his dome,
    You'll find him no dunce when you know'm
    On a witch it bodes bad
    But the Irish barrad
    Is the badge of the bard, not the gnome.

    August 18, 2015

  • Ruzuzu our ramparts patrols
    Repelling all spammers and trolls
    And priapic elves,
    Full of beans and themselves,
    Attacking with long Slavic poles.

    August 17, 2015

  • You'll never fool Ernest with this trick;
    He knows the whole fakery district.
    There were no iron balls
    In cold brazen stalls;*
    That pretense is parachronistic.

    Find out more about Ernest Bafflewit

    *See the "Supposed etymology" section at the Wikipedia entry for Brass monkey.

    August 17, 2015

  • She was a most wanton wee piglet
    Who'd show you her butt and then wiggle it.
    The farmer, quite taken
    With flirtatious bacon,
    Has named tonight's dish roasted giglot.

    August 16, 2015

  • Thank you, slumry.

    August 15, 2015

  • Come hither, my love! Let us share
    A libation of virginal hair.
    Oh, how we both yearn
    For a taste of the fern
    And lips festooned with sweet capillaire!

    August 15, 2015

  • See also mortress.

    August 15, 2015

  • Heard in the movie “Mr. Turner:” a couple of unfamiliar words that do not appear in standard dictionaries. One was “shackles” as a type of food:

    I hope you’re enjoying your supper.


    Oh, good. Some folk do find shackles too salty for their taste.

    Can never be too salty for me, madam

    As the scene was set in East Kent I suspect it is a Kentish dialect word but I cannot find it documented. It may be a local word for a species of shellfish or perhaps some finned fish preserved in salt. Does anyone know what you are eating when you are eating shackles in Kent?

    August 15, 2015

  • Heard in the movie “Mr. Turner:” a couple of unfamiliar words that do not appear in standard dictionaries. One is “foying:”

    Well, he were a dear man. ‘Tis twice in my life now I have found myself a widow. My first husband were taken from me when I was but a young woman.

    How was he taken?

    He were foying over there on Goodwin Sands.

    A life-saver.

    Aye. He did save many a life but in the end he could not save his own.

    As the scene was set in East Kent I suspected they are Kentish dialect words and I did find an entry for “foying” in a Kentish Dialect Dictionary:
    FOYING foi-ing
    part.Victualling ships; helping them in distress, and acting generally as agents for them. "They who live by the seaside are generally fishermen, or those who go voyages to foreign parts, or such as depend upon what they call foying." - Lewis, p 32

    A Dictionary of the Kentish Dialect and Provincialisms(1888) Page 59

    August 15, 2015

  • To get drunk at a kneip's not a smirch.
    Be proud of the belch and the lurch!
    It's a teutonic truth:
    Such a toot for a youth’s
    The mark of a red-blooded bursch.

    August 14, 2015

  • What a fellow can't get by his merit
    He may by his patience inherit,
    And if he befriend
    Rich folk near their end
    His ignoble goals may be sperate.

    August 13, 2015

  • I assume that such an expression of false regret would be offered by one adept at simumility.

    August 12, 2015

  • The brain when awake merely thinks
    But dreaming it finds mystic links.
    Of these not the least
    Is man mixed with beast,
    As playful faun or grim androsphinx.

    August 12, 2015

  • Tank hughes very much, bilby.

    August 12, 2015

  • When Adam and Eve frolicked nude
    Then Eden abounded in food
    But hid in a certain tree
    In sinuous serpentry
    There dangled the fruit of the lewd.

    August 11, 2015

  • A man can be said to have died well
    If he spent some time in a bridewell.
    If his fate is not bliss
    We're certain of this:
    He will know how best to abide hell.

    August 10, 2015

  • I found a number of definitions for caboche including this one in the French Wikipedia...

    Une Caboche est un clou à tête carrée qui est utilisée pour fixer les fers à chevaux, pour les clouer il faut évidemment taper sur la caboche, d'où l'expression"tête de caboche"( qui a du mal à assimiler des informations, qui à la tête "dure" ).

    in which a horseshoe nail suggests a particularly thick-skulled person.

    Caboche is not related to "kibosh" but there is much to amuse in the Wordnik entry for that word and it should be visited.

    A caboche is most often defined as a species of fish commonly called a bullhead. I am intrigued by "miller's thumb" as a synonym. I understand that the fish is thought to resemble a thumb, but why a miller's? A miller's thumb is a metonym for an unfair influence. (I have also seen "butcher's thumb" so applied.) Is the bullhead being defamed as a dishonest fish? I see that there is a Miller's Thumb restaurant in Cape Town, SA and a Miller's Thumb art gallery in Vermont. Surely these establishments are not boasting of fraudulent business practices. Can anyone shed light on the appeal of this expression?

    It might be a fish, a flower or some
    Fellow perceived as specially dumb.
    Lexicons are awash
    With words for caboche
    But why is it called a miller's thumb?

    August 9, 2015

  • Be Batman or Robin, but ask
    Or officials will take you to task.
    To limit escapism
    They practice red-tapism
    And make you apply for a mask.

    August 8, 2015

  • Thank you, alexz. You do manage to turn up the most interesting oddments.

    August 8, 2015

  • When Le Nôtre decides to define
    And devise a new garden divine
    To deny a detail
    Wold be to defail
    And defile the delightful design.

    August 7, 2015

  • A howdah is an elegant way
    To ride in the heat of the day,
    Or else sit astraddle
    A horse in a saddle
    Or lounge in a cool cacolet.

    August 6, 2015

  • When alchemists come to titivate
    Their methods are slow and ornate.
    It's never enough
    The athanor's snuffed
    They also will dephlogisticate.

    August 5, 2015

  • I think that when Australians convene to decide on the names of things a great deal of spiritous refreshment is consumed.

    August 5, 2015

  • Then taurocoprophilous must mean “bullshit-loving,” a word to describe many factions and people I can think of.

    August 4, 2015

  • On the other hand I like the Australian application of the word. It is somehow onomatopoetic.

    When utes collide you feel the tingle
    And hear the shattered headlights' jingle:
    In the asphalt jungle
    An ordinary bungle
    The Aussies dismiss as a bingle.

    August 4, 2015

  • When tumbling from your velocipede
    Your style of dismount is decreed.
    Determining which roll,
    The sideways or pitchpole,
    Is purely a function of speed.

    August 4, 2015

  • As to bilby's question from 2008: the WordNet definition is a puzzler. I have been paying close attention to baseball for many years and have never heard or read the word "bingle." The WordNet contribution defines an ordinary single. Maybe a bingle is a single batted by a batter with a speech impediment.

    August 4, 2015

  • See comments at viraginity.

    August 3, 2015

  • n 1973 a group of women founded a publishing company with a feminist mission in London and called it Virago Press. The writer and linguist Anthony Burgess was sympathetic to their cause but opined that they had done a poor job of choosing a name because virago has negative connotations. The ladies disagreed and a literary feud was commenced.

    In Burgess's understanding virago was roughly synonymous with harridan or termagant and the amazonian connotation intended by the publishing house was obscure and archaic. I see that dictionaries offer both conflicting definitions and that the older ones give prominence to the negative sense while newer (or more populist) dictionaries tend to feature the positive.

    While Burgess asserted affinity
    'Twixt virago and foul masculinity
    The ladies said, "Nay!
    We'll have it our way
    By defining our own viraginity."

    August 3, 2015

  • The point of royal administration
    Is hoarding the luck of relation,
    So many a fool
    Has ascended to rule
    By primogeniture and agnation.

    August 2, 2015

  • I am surprised this initialism does not already have an entry. It has been in use since the 1960s. Perhaps we are too humble a band. (Google "RPCV" for numerous links,)

    August 1, 2015

  • fuckerino

    August 1, 2015

  • I am sometimes moved by events to utter this exclamation, but it would make a good name for a subatomic particle.

    August 1, 2015

  • From the usage examples it appears that the horse cavort is the most common meaning of this word but the splatterdash definition in The Century is one of those appealing preservations in amber. To celebrate the beginning of August I will honor both.

    For a pleasant equestrian ramble
    Select an old mare who will amble,
    So safely evade
    The sudden gambade
    Of a filly inclined to a gambol.

    In springtime provisions are made
    In gear for a fine promenade:
    To wade through the wash
    We deploy the galosh,
    Each shank tightly cased in gambade.

    August 1, 2015

  • VM seems to suffer from an impaired sense of humor. It may comfort him to insult some effigy of his prejudices to compensate but I do not appreciate being his target. This is a lexicographical site, not a therapy couch.

    August 1, 2015

  • See comments at down cellar.

    July 31, 2015

  • The definition for this expression is wrong. “Down cellar” does not mean “downstairs” it means “in the basement,” as affirmed by kraduate’s comment. It is a New England regionalism (note its inclusion in regional lists). I am a native New Englander but my wife is not. I have managed to move her from “in the basement” to “down in the cellar” to “down the cellar” but she cannot shake the pesky article. It sounds like it could be a survival from immigrants from Yorkshire. Unfortunately it is succumbing to the homogenization of American English.

    July 31, 2015

  • See comments at cholmondeley.

    July 31, 2015

  • See also comments at drumly.

    July 31, 2015

  • I note with alarm and yet humbly
    It's perverse the way we say Cholmondeley.
    If there's no way of telling
    The sound from the spelling
    Then English is hopelessly drumly.

    See sionnach's amusing verses on this theme in comments at cholmondeley.

    July 31, 2015

  • The waitress will bring the bill hither
    And cause our composure to wither.
    Not feeble abulia
    But crude dyscalculia
    Will force us to helplessly dither.

    July 30, 2015

  • When clams have been hunted and gathered
    The diggers turn homeward quite slathered
    With hardening grime
    And odorous slime
    From tip of the boots to the mazard.

    July 29, 2015

  • Let's reprehend Sir Walter Raleigh
    For fostering the New World's folly.
    The deathead's hung
    In many a lung
    Tobacco's rendered stiff and colly.

    July 28, 2015

  • See also zareba.

    July 27, 2015

  • Now "damp" would work sans explanation;
    More pompously there's "precipitation."
    But hear my confiteor:
    I say "hydrometeor"
    For pleasure of nerdy obfuscation.

    July 27, 2015

  • 'Isadora* wore a scarf like a cloak
    That floated toward the spinning spoke.
    The bright scarlet cymar
    Streamed out behind her
    Until the Amilcar engaged its choke.

    *On September 14, 1927, dancer Isadora Duncan is strangled in Nice, France, when the enormous silk scarf she is wearing gets tangled in the rear hubcaps of her open car. (“Affectations,” said Gertrude Stein when she heard the news of Duncan’s death, “can be dangerous.”)

    July 26, 2015

  • When hedgehogs have a heavy date
    They'll yelp and shrilly ululate.
    Their poignant cries
    Are no surprise
    For passion pains the aculeate.

    July 25, 2015

  • In coping with effects of harm
    "It could have been worse" has its charm:
    'Twas luck alone
    Spared my hucklebone
    While I crushed a superfluous arm.

    July 24, 2015

  • BRIC

    July 23, 2015

  • In failing to flatter you've been remiss
    And now must appease unhappy Miss.
    So forestall perdition
    By abject contrition -
    In posture and word be demiss.

    July 23, 2015

  • The "suffering savior" proposal emits a strong odor of folk etymology. See a persuasive dismissal at http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/forums/viewthread/2330/.

    July 22, 2015

  • To science these hills are laccolith;
    Embrace either that fact or this:
    Their outline suggests
    The Earth's milky breasts
    And proves thereby the lacto-myth.

    July 22, 2015

  • Honors vary in Wordnikian eyes
    But surely I've won the top prize?
    I blush head to toe!
    It's so good to know
    That bilby thinks well of my thighs.

    July 22, 2015

  • I suppose people making such visits to Church of England sites are champing at the Brit.

    July 22, 2015

  • Now damask has lost its bright glow
    And dimity's low as old calico.
    The poor saddened stuff
    Is sad-ironed enough
    To be fuller than crape is of woe.

    July 21, 2015

  • When he starts to rant and to bawl
    The Donald can empty the hall.
    Such violent throes
    Will drench the front rows
    In a mist of his venomous spawl.

    July 21, 2015

  • All newlyweds must know of this: 
    To stifle your anger is remiss;
    Fight antibiosis
    With mithridatic doses
    For years of mitigated bliss.

    July 20, 2015

  • By grazing of the tusky herd
    The purslane seed will be interred.
    The succulent spekboom
    Will most likely next bloom
    From out an elephant's dusty turd.

    July 19, 2015

  • If you're a bored and weary Yemeni
    You fight the stifling heat's hegemony
    By drinking some kisher,
    That desert elixir,
    The Arab's friend and ennui's enemy.

    July 18, 2015

  • A highland fling danced strong and brisk
    Can put a young Jock's heart at risk
    If the bonnie lass dancing
    Is also enhancing
    The dance with a beckoning glisk.

    July 17, 2015

  • This is a word that fills a need. It describes (in part) the plots of Thomas Hardy novels. Thank you, YoMama_T.

    July 16, 2015

  • The gaucho done roaming the pampas
    And scholar at home on his campus
    Both think that it suits
    Their glorious glutes
    To rest on a divan of lampas.

    July 16, 2015

  • The sign of an ice hockey great
    Is the skill with which he can skate
    Or the classically comical
    A smile that is proudly pectinate.

    July 15, 2015

  • This brings to mind the famous “Chuckles Bites the Dust” episode (Oct. 25, 1975) of the “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” commonly cited as a candidate for the funniest sitcom episode of all time.

    The episode can be viewed here.

    July 14, 2015

  • A Siamese can count his tical;
    A Chinese chap can gauge a picul.
    Scots too can be picky
    But after some whiskey
    Content with their "wee" and their "mickle."

    July 14, 2015

  • “The bones, after being well scraped and cleaned, are then deposited in a whata, or elevated box, somewhat resembling a provision store…”

    Savage Life and Scenes in Australia and New Zealand: Being an Artist's Impressions of Countries and People at the Antipodes, Volume 1. p. 331.(1847)

    July 13, 2015

  • See the Maori Dictionary

    July 13, 2015

  • godown

    July 13, 2015

  • Whata apparently originates in the Maori language.
    All the usage examples (with the exception of the imitation of a bird call) are instances of omission of the space between “what” and “a,” either as a typo or as an attempt to render dialect.

    July 13, 2015

  • My myna bird, far gone in booze,
    Can mime a bird in blameless snooze.
    He's anisodactylous
    So even if crapulous
    He'll perch upright on iron thews.

    July 13, 2015

  • Our bilby with his nib and plume,
    His eyes asquint and tongue abloom,
    With exquisite precision
    Incises his vision
    On the husk of a humble legume.

    July 13, 2015

  • If observation did not establish this either your grandfather was a master of discretion or you are remarkably inattentive.

    July 13, 2015

  • The ladies in waves besiege the gym
    That once was the guys' elysium,
    Now a hostile environ
    For louts pumping iron
    And turning a proper gynaeceum!

    July 12, 2015

  • I prayed to my muse and I asked her
    A word for a prose poetaster.
    She told me directly,
    "To fail so abjectly
    Is classed as a simple disaster."

    July 12, 2015

  • When the bowl of the day is aglitter
    The songbirds will warble and twitter,
    But take silent flight
    From smothering night -
    The cave of the hoot and the clitter.

    July 11, 2015

  • An excellent word!

    July 10, 2015

  • Percussion and melodic part
    Make music to gladden the heart,
    Thus, steady curmurring
    Sets sweet things astirring
    And summons a concussive fart.

    July 10, 2015

  • As paper gives promise of pith
    And marble an aura of myth,
    So rice would be nice
    If I'm very precise
    But most apt would be coprolith.

    July 10, 2015

  • If learning made me scholar-Croesus
    My peace of mind would fall to pieces.
    I'm wealthy with less
    If I truly possess
    The knowledge acquired by aesthesis.

    July 9, 2015

  • Clearly TankHughes is destined for duxhood.

    July 8, 2015

  • Your typical high muckamucks
    Are experts at passing the bucks.
    Avoiding all blame
    Is part of their game -
    A skill that is learned as a dux.

    July 8, 2015

  • Initial contact can be fraught 
    When trust and his friendship are sought.
    To establish your footing
    Request an up-putting,
    For begging a favor flatters a Scot.

    July 7, 2015

  • The Dutch boy who covets her kiss
    Must patiently defer his bliss
    Until annual revels
    Unleash the devils
    When all is allowed at kermis.

    July 6, 2015

  • My guess is that ichor is an unlikely source for icky. The Wordnik entry for icky borrows a suggestion of an origin in jazz lingo. I think it sounds like generic baby-talk. Compare yucky and gooey.

    July 5, 2015

  • A great dinner like a great play
    Will nourish and charm all the way.
    Delight should be certain
    From prologue to curtain,
    From hors d'oeuvre to last entremet.

    July 5, 2015

  • An amuse-bouche (plural amuse-bouches) or amuse-gueule is a single, bite-sized hors d'oeuvre.


    July 4, 2015

  • When impinging passions anarchic
    Confuse and then render him heart sick,
    He seeks out the balm
    Of contemplative calm
    Where feelings are pure and autarkic.

    July 4, 2015

  • As rufescent as though immolated,
    Flamboyance, alas, simulated.
    The bird's not aflame;
    He plays at a game
    So twitchers are flim-flammulated.

    July 3, 2015

  • In 2010 a BBC radio 4 presenter committed a spoonerism that will live forever on the internet. At that time the UK's Culture Secretary was Jeremy Hunt. The presenter managed to spoonerize the surname and the area of responsibility. He then struggled lengthily to regain his composure. A listener emailed an amusing message of comfort:

    "It's well known in psycholinguistic research that two words that share a vowel are prone to a speech error in which the initial consonants are exchanged. For this reason making Jeremy Hunt the Culture Secretary was reckless in the extreme."

    It is true, although hard to credit, that the presenter's name is James Naughtie.

    James Naughtie Jeremy Hunt Today Programme BBC Radio 4 - long version.

    July 2, 2015

  • For many years influential members of one of the two major political parties in the United States have been refusing to call the other party by its proper name. Right-wing Republicans will not utter the word “Democratic” in any medium with respect to the rival party. They refuse to acknowledge the existence of the adjectival form of “Democrat” and insist on referring to the “Democrat Party” or to “Democrat voters” or to “Democrat proposals.” This is presumably to deny by implication that any “democratic” virtues attach to that party and to insult their opponents by the deliberate malformation of their name. The practice has become so widespread as to cease to draw comment or correction.

    See also newspeak.

    July 2, 2015

  • Oh, pity the male adolescent,
    Unwillingly often tumescent!
    Though closely concealed
    His plight is revealed
    By cheeks that will glow erubescent.

    July 2, 2015

  • A skilled chef will manage the pause
    While diners await the dacquoise.
    The tension will build
    Till hopes are fulfilled
    And the room can erupt in applause.

    July 1, 2015

  • The cause of diplomacy benefits
    From delicate shifts of emphasis,
    So politely belittle
    The bulge in his middle
    With praise of the genius of entasis.

    June 30, 2015

  • Misspelling of inflammable.

    June 30, 2015

  • A young blade's accoutrements ape
    Provocative parts in their shape.
    His scabbard is phallic,
    Long, smooth and metallic,
    And tipped with a glistening chape.

    June 29, 2015

  • The royalty's bred in his marrow - 
    The bloodline is straight as an arrow.
    You can tell the descent
    By the cut of his pschent.
    The young man was born to be pharaoh.

    June 28, 2015

  • While buttons may service the riffraff
    A zipper is bourgeois - a gaffe.
    An elegant closure
    Delights in exposure:
    Apply to your fly a bright agraffe.

    June 27, 2015

  • If a seal and a lass make a selkie
    With flesh that's both silver and milky,
    An elk and a bilby
    Amalgam then will be
    Both antlered and long-eared - a bilky.

    June 26, 2015

  • The culture of card and corsage
    Is sentiment rendered mirage.
    By custom extracted,
    In duress enacted,
    Such gestures are merchant’s chantage.

    June 26, 2015

  • If rich,then the villain will dog her;
    If plain, he'll cunningly snog her.
    He'll simper and smile,
    Conniving the while.
    The man is a cad and a cogger!

    June 25, 2015

  • See somdomite.

    June 24, 2015

  • As wealth to the privileged amasses
    Estrangement bedevils the classes.
    It’s no longer given
    A nation so riven
    Can nourish the dream of systasis.

    June 24, 2015

  • The bishops convene a consistory
    To prove their opinions error-free
    And silence the talk
    Of an aberrant flock
    Disturbing their placid plerophory.

    June 23, 2015

  • Carthago delenda est

    June 22, 2015

  • When a tar and a lady co-mingle
    The overture's most likely lingual.
    He's adept at unlacing
    For further embracing -
    A dab hand at clearing a cringle.

    June 22, 2015

  • When Ernest has had quite enough
    Of smiling at rustics' crude guff
    He'll flummox a bumpkin
    With Latin for "pumpkin"
    And stun with this stern counterbuff.

    Find out more about Ernest Bafflewit

    June 21, 2015

  • "Isabella, or the Pot of Basil": a very odd poem, but it was an early work and it does, one might say, grow on you.

    June 21, 2015

  • A tight ship will shine like a gem
    And gleam from its tiller to stem.
    On bright decks unblemished
    The cordage is flemished
    And sails billow white without wem.

    June 20, 2015

  • We're shaped by reproach and by counsel,
    Though praise will do more than a taunt will.
    A good mentor's mark
    Must never be stark
    And mar us no more than a pontil.

    June 19, 2015

  • See cucurbit.

    June 19, 2015

  • In deserts calm camels of Bactria,
    In mountains impervious yaks appear.
    Amid hills and sands
    Of the turbulent 'stans
    The livestock has learned ataraxia.

    June 18, 2015

  • His excuses, profuse and poetic,
    To her ear still sounded cosmetic.
    If honest remorse
    Is noble of course,
    But his left her heart aporetic.

    June 17, 2015

  • The imps of the silly will work
    And times meant for tears they will chirk.
    At loved ones' last parting
    You imagine them farting
    And struggle to stifle your smirk.

    June 16, 2015

  • Les éminences grises, qu'est-ce qu'il y a?
    In Paris, Madrid or Manila,
    Behind every throne
    (It's very well known),
    There gathers a dim camarilla.

    June 15, 2015

  • n. The practice of deliberately misspelling a word as a way to convey disapproval or contempt.

    disspelling is a combination of dis + spelling.

    See sprots.

    June 15, 2015

  • Googling "deliberate misspelling" I find that many people have posed this question. There is cacography, which is just bad spelling, whether or not deliberately inflicted. Wikipedia provides an entry for Sensational spelling, which is a common marketing ploy as in "froot" for "fruit." Such misspellings are meant to confer cuteness rather than express scorn.

    If I understand correctly vendingmachine's quest is for a term to describe the practice of deliberately misspelling a word as a way to convey disapproval or contempt. I think "disspelling" is a good candidate if it is allowed to cohabit with the sense of dispersal or dissipation. (I also find a "dispelling ring" defined as an apotropaic piece of jewelry in the Dark Souls game, but this is probably ephemeral.)

    disspelling is a combination of dis + spelling.

    June 15, 2015

  • A fictional rabbit in a series of books for children.

    June 14, 2015

  • To banter with Grandpa is iffy.
    His temper is lost in a jiffy,
    So raillery's out
    If he's feeling his gout.
    It's then that he's at his most miffy.

    June 14, 2015

  • renaturation: n. restoration to a natural state, as a river or wetland.

    It is a policy of the European Union (feebly supported) that many rivers that have been dammed and/or channelized be restored to their natural or wild state as the best means of flood prevention and environmental enhancement.

    See, for example, Projects in Slovenia

    June 14, 2015

  • Milk maids betimes their swains arouse
    And tempt them away from their plows
    To the kissing-gate,
    There to osculate
    Unhindered by curious cows.

    June 13, 2015

  • The beginning of Keats' sonnet "When I Have Fears: "

    When I have fears that I may cease to be 
    Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
    Before high-piled books, in charactery,
    Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;

    June 13, 2015

  • Canterbury

    They wear this way, their souls to soothe,
    Devotion's the tool that so hews,
    As, barefoot or shod,
    The pilgrims have trod
    The stone of these steps to incuse.

    June 12, 2015

  • He bristles and fights, so he's banty;
    Delighted with life - call him canty.
    An irascible sort
    Or thorough good sport?
    Depends if he's pro- or he's anti-.

    June 11, 2015

  • When life becomes pallid and grim
    Enhance it by wit and by whim.
    Give a glamorous sheen
    To your daily routine
    By adopting a deep cryptonym.

    June 10, 2015

  • When Lexicographers Go Bad

    His offer she called "An amusing sum!"
    Her exit conveyed her opprobrium.
    To the lobby she flounced
    And loudly announced,
    "He's sure got a puny peculium!"

    June 9, 2015

  • gobar

    June 9, 2015

  • See also mill-tail.

    June 9, 2015

  • They grasp but never tarry at
    The fringe of the proletariat.
    The edge is too brittle
    Or strength is too little
    For rescue from the precariat.

    June 8, 2015

  • Dismissing those uncertain "coulds"
    We once affirmed, sure of the goods.
    But, considering tappens,
    Tell me what happens:
    Does a bear always shit in the woods?

    June 8, 2015

  • His worship provokes general jollity.
    Its breadth seems a sign of frivolity
    But, science his psalter
    And nature his altar,
    He practices peaceful cosmolatry.

    June 7, 2015

  • The word evokes "mysterious lascar"
    Or dangers that lurk in the casbah.
    So idle mind plays
    On a poolside chaise
    Adoze by the warm flags of ashlar.

    June 6, 2015

  • Those rappers who natter and howl
    Spew verse whose savor is foul.
    If the match is just assonant
    The rhyming is absonant.
    A rhyme is much more than a vowel.

    June 5, 2015

  • It began as a mere hypomania
    But grows ever stronger and zanier,
    First paper and ink
    Now blog, tweet and link -
    The web abets wild typomania.

    June 4, 2015

Comments for qms

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Thank you, ruzuzu. Verse is not neccessary but your good wishes are much appreciated. I only wanted to acknowledge Erin's gesture and to prepare my excuses in advance in case I miss a day here and there.

    June 3, 2015

  • Dear qms,

    I'm sorry I haven't written a get-well verse for you yet. Everything I try to rhyme betrays my dislike of cars and drivers--and since most of the people I know happen to be drivers, I thought maybe I'd cool off for a bit.

    Get well soon,

    June 3, 2015

  • Did your vault parse the arc of a diver?
    Or a ballerina's poise: didst thou outstrive her?
    But forgive me this jest,
    I wish you and elbows my best,
    *shakes fist at said stupid driver*

    June 1, 2015

  • Kind Wordniks: In her generous verse of yesterday erinmckean referenced my injury, which could interfere with submissions to Wordnik. On my last bike ride, May 22 (alas, my last for some time I'm afraid) an inattentive driver cut in front of me, so

    My dismount was the handlebar vault - 
    A gracefully arcing somersault.
    An elbow twice broken
    And concussion betoken
    The boldness of that asphalt halt.

    Two days ago I had surgery to nail my funny bone back into place. Fortunately (or not - there are opinions) I have been able to continue limericizing. This is a tribute to Erin's helpfulness and the power of OCD.

    May 31, 2015

  • At Wordnik we are truly blessed
    To have, as lyricist, qms.
    Although a recent awkward injury
    may make his typing a bit gingery
    we still daily receive of his best.

    May 30, 2015

  • The annum revolves from last to next
    But yields no daily tempting text.
    Is there some curse
    On good-natured verse
    Or will 2015 be lexically hexed?

    January 1, 2015

  • Dear Wordniks my aim is to woo you
    To visit "community" if you choose to.
    Let not this hiatus
    Depress or abate us,
    Let's flock to the beckoning ruzuzu.

    December 25, 2014

  • Thanks, qms! I was thinking that in the meantime maybe we should just congregate on one of the word pages--community makes as much sense as any. See you there?

    December 24, 2014

  • I especially admire your last few limericks. Keep up the good work!

    December 15, 2014

  • By rights this should be posted on the account of the user lozonbeatty, but that account will soon be squished to wriggling flatness by the almighty thumb of erinmckean, if it has not already been so reduced. I post my comment here so that it will not be collateral damage.

    I was struck by the last few sentences of lozonbeatty’s message, that is, three or four sentences, depending on one’s inclination to generosity:

    I experience scorching soon after using the tablet. and that i sweat quite a bit .they explain to me it is because the tablet si performing for me. I m seriously pleased with this particular outcome.

    There is something of poetry and of perversion in these words. I had hoped that bilby might address this, but he is probably out snowshoeing, or whatever it is they do in the Australian Winter. I have not his gift for mock Spammish so I must resort to my native idiom to give lozonbeatty some advice:

    Anent your fiery fat pill story
    More testimony is obligatory.
    You should be testing
    Other ways of ingesting.
    Suppose you try suppository?

    July 3, 2014

  • On any page, scroll down to the bottom, then click on the Community link under News. That will take you to what we used to call 'the front page' of the site where you can see all the latest user comments (and some other stuff). Sometimes you'll see that a 'conversation' between frequent users is developing on a particular word.
    Doorbelling is also fine, we do that too.
    p.s. There should also be a Community link on the black bar at the top.

    January 1, 2014

  • You can comment on any word except the Word of the Day in the WotD section.
    Your double bracket theory is correct, you can make a clickable link to any word's page by doing that. Then just scroll down till you find the comment box.

    December 19, 2013

  • I seem to have managed to make everything a comment FOR qms ABOUT qms. What I would like to do is offer comment FROM qms about a word. I wonder if double brackets on a word such as hebetude would land me in a useful place.

    December 19, 2013

  • From 11/27/2013, hebetude

           Thanksgiving, 2013
    We dine this day on heaps of food,
    Then slump in sleepy lassitude.
    Sad bales of clothes
    Near comatose –
    Though conscious, sunk in hebetude.

    December 19, 2013

  • From 12/06/2013, subnivean

                Snow Fleas
    To Winter they are not giving in
    To sleep the season in oblivion.
    They cheerfully go
    Underneath the snow
    And, happy there, hop subnivean.

    December 19, 2013

  • I have encountered enough success at posting a comment to look back a bit for other Word of the Day offerings that I have limericized. My skills as an archivist are weak, but I have found a couple.

    From 12/11/2013, cete

    "Coitus" supplies a word for "mate;"
    A batch of badgers it names "cete."
    It could be fun to view
    What those badgers do
    If, like words from roots, they proliferate.

    December 19, 2013

  • From 12/05/2013, morosoph

    The lit'ry world may haughtily scoff
    And judge the writer in some way "off,"
    But a limericist's tools
    Are the insights of fools.
    The form is the art of the morosoph.

    December 19, 2013

  • You can comment on the word cacchinate, though not on the Word Of The Day entry which is in a different part of the site.

    December 18, 2013

  • the meter is funky - a bit to the left of the limerick
    I like it!

    December 18, 2013

  • I am a bit flummoxed. I thought I could offer a comment on a specific Word of the Day, but it looks like I am able only to talk to myself. At least I will have an appreciative audience.

    When the Word of the Day service supplies a word I think I might want to use I try to implant it in my working vocabulary by building a limerick around it. I have done that with the word of 12/17/2013, cachinnate. Thus,

    Against cruel fortune's machination
    Partake of sorrow's vaccination.
    Your surest protection
    From sadness' infection
    Is regular doses of cachinnation.

    December 18, 2013