from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A small or elusive supernatural being; an elf or pixie.
  • noun An elflike person.
  • noun Meteorology A large, dim, red flash that appears above active thunderstorms in conjunction with lightning.
  • noun Archaic A spirit, specter, or ghost.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To haunt, as a sprite.
  • noun The breath; the vital principle; the spirit.
  • noun A disembodied soul; a ghost; a shade.
  • noun An elf; a fairy; a goblin.
  • noun The faculty of thought and feeling; the wit; the mind.
  • noun Frame of mind; mood; humor; spirits: sometimes in the plural.
  • noun A short arrow intended to be fired from a musket.
  • noun The green woodpecker, Gecinus viridis. Also wood-spite, wood-spack. See cut under popinjay.
  • noun A beach-crab, especially Ocypoda arenaria.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A spirit; a soul; a shade; also, an apparition. See spright.
  • noun An elf; a fairy; a goblin.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The green woodpecker, or yaffle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun mythology A spirit; a soul; a shade; also, an apparition.
  • noun mythology An elf; a fairy; a goblin.
  • noun The green woodpecker, or yaffle.
  • noun computer graphics A two-dimensional image or animation that is integrated into a larger scene.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a small being, human in form, playful and having magical powers


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English spreit, from Old French esprit, from Latin spīritus; see spirit.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French esprit (spirit).


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  • I love that sprite comes from spirit. What a cool word is sprite. For some reason, it makes me think of a refreshing, citrusy lemon-lime flavor... Can't imagine why...

    February 13, 2007

  • I make that same connection, strange... But only when in the context of a restaurant or grocery store.

    All the other times I hear it, I think of scrawny effeminate ballerinos in tights, leaping across a Midsummer Night's Dream stage. And then I have to wash my mind out with soap and rinse that crap away with some Dr Pepper.

    February 13, 2007

  • No, my ballerinos are tall and, um, sprightly. And they're clad in purple. Must be a manifestation of my suppressed homosexual tendencies or something. That, or I just think sprite is a pretty gay word. ;-)

    February 13, 2007

  • Is there a "gay words" list on this site? If so, how might a person go about finding it? Or convincing one's friend to start one?

    February 15, 2007

  • Found it! Search for the word questioning. kodaz is the only one who's listed it. It can be found on their queer words list. :)

    February 15, 2007

  • *clears throat*


    I sure could go for a nice tall glass of crisp, refreshing 7-Up right now.

    February 15, 2007

  • Thanks for finding that list, jennarenn! How did you do it? I thought about searching for specific, existing lists before starting one of my own, but never did figure out how to search for them. Maybe I should just take the time to rub a couple brain cells together...

    February 17, 2007

  • WHERE IS ALL THIS HOMOPHOBIA COMING FROM? I'm not gay, but I don't support this negative stereotyping of gays either! Look up words like hatred, fear & discrimination ladies & gentlemen.

    February 19, 2007

  • Sorry, I got sucked into this just as a challenge for finding related synonyms for gay. I've since deleted what I consider to be the potentially offensive words from my list. palooka's point is well taken.

    February 19, 2007

  • Thanks sionnach! On this thread it's gays, on the next it might be attacks on Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, or your or my ancestry. Thanks again!

    February 19, 2007

  • I didn't actually run a search (we ought to mention that to John), I just ran across it in my habitual (and slightly obsessive) perusing of the site.

    I don't think anybody in this feed meant to offend, although I could see how offense could be taken. My apologies.

    February 19, 2007

  • Begging your pardon? I'm not sure to whom your comment was directed, palooka, so I'll assume I was included in that. If I said anything negative, I hope you'll direct my attention to the guilty statements I made. My tone was lighthearted and intentionally ironic, in the same way I might joke about my own blatant whiteness or nerdiness.

    If anything, my comments were meant to be silly, in fact playing on the stereotypes rather than endorsing them. Nothing derogatory was said or implied. My apologies for allowing my feathers to be ruffled, if you weren't addressing me... but just the same, part of the larger problem is that kind of hypersensitivity, to exaggerate harmless banter and paint it as the worst kind of hate speech, when it's nothing of the sort. If we want peace, it's our first responsibility not to jump into battle in response to the slightest uncomfortable situation. We -- all of us -- need thicker skin or our fate is eternal bickering.

    One of the great things this site affords us is the freedom to categorize words in any variety of ways. Even, perhaps, offensive ways. Though I would argue that nothing on this page could reasonably be described as such, let alone hate, homophobia, or discrimination. You needn't be so hasty to throw those words around. They're much better saved for those who deserve them. Let's not condemn one another so quickly, OK? This is certainly not the place to be throwing stones.

    February 19, 2007

  • palooka, I can understand your concern. Yesterday, I deleted my last comment from the Wordiehol list. There's a blurry line between mocking homophobes and sending the wrong message.

    Still, there are certainly such things as gay words in most people's minds and that thinking is not reinforced solely by straight people. For instance, on gay pride day at my college, I remember that the gay population sidewalk-chalked fag everywhere. I didn't think that was very positive nor did it seem to help their situation. Much like black people trying to make the word nigger their own. It doesn't work because we're all still well aware of the negative origins.

    February 19, 2007

  • I think this was a misunderstanding. I've made similar ones myself. But I didn't read any of the comments below as hateful. If anything is posted on Wordie with truly hateful intent, I won't hesitate to yank it, but for the most part, best to solve misunderstandings with, well, more words. If anyone has taken offense at anything on wordie, or has concerns about how I'm dealing (or not dealing) with this overall, let me know.

    I actually do, in all seriousness, have a deep love of ballet, and ballerino is my new favorite word. Can't believe none of you guys wordied it earlier.

    And speaking of speaking, I'm planning on rolling out a new 'talk' feature soon, so there's a place to discuss things in addition to the threads attached to comments and lists. Any ideas on how that would best work are welcome -- or if you think conversation is best left attached to the words, let me know that, too.

    February 19, 2007

  • Hey John! I'm not sure exactly what you have in mind for the Talk feature. It sounds interesting. I do like the way things are now, because I envision future "generations" exploring the site long after these conversations have transpired, and discovering some treasures in surprising places.

    If we weren't all monitoring the "recent comments" list (I assume that's how the rest of you do it) who would imagine all this on the sprite page? There are all kinds of great funny -- and serious -- discussions in the randomest of places on the site, and I think that will increasingly lend itself to more exploration, the fun of discovery. In enough time from now, a future user could theoretically search for any word and find a huge array of cool stuff attached to it, left by us, his or her predecessors. Hopefully still around and active at that point too, of course. I think the site as a whole could become known as a repository for intriguing discussions for a whole dictionary's worth of words.

    If the Talk section doesn't take us away from building up that collection, it would be great. If it becomes just another web forum while these pages stagnate, perhaps I wouldn't be so much in favor of it.

    February 19, 2007

  • I can only really speak for myself in saying that nothing I've ever posted here (or elsewhere, for that matter) was intended as hateful or was ever really taken as hateful. Nothing on this page came across to me as homophobic, and I'm sorry if anyone else took it that way because it was not intended as such. There's that matter.

    Secondly, I agree with uselessness--the conversations now are attached (sometimes very loosely) to certain words or to lists, which is often hard to follow if you're not on the site constantly to monitor the recent comments (that's how I've been doing it too). But it does mean that the words and the lists are central, and the messages are tangential. Opening up a message board would make the words and lists tangential, and I, too, would be opposed to that. But if there were a way to maybe track messages from certain folks or messages on certain lists (a way less clunky than an RSS feed for each one), that would be awesome.

    Thanks again for the great site. I'm loving it. Perhaps too much. Hopefully I won't get fired...

    February 19, 2007

  • Thanks for all your thoughtful responses. What set me off is the fact that this was the second thread on Sunday that seemed to contain slurs against gays. The first was on Abraxas' Wordiehol list in which two Wordies seemed to become hostile towards Abraxas when he made a joking gay comment - comments Abraxas deleted.

    This thread is relatively mild but ominous. Some of the best, most active Wordies seemed to be willing to take Wordie in the wrong direction.

    Maybe I over-reacted to this thread, but my response was the result of reading both threads, not just this one.

    Again, thank you all for your thoughtful responses.

    February 19, 2007

  • Palooka, I'm fairly certain you're also referring to my comments as well. If I gave the impression of being homophobic in any way, I sincerely apologize. In fact, I AM gay, and I felt comfortable enough on this board, and with the people to whom I was directing those comments, to freely make gay-related statements. My mistake was in assuming everyone would understand that they were meant entirely sarcastically. Clearly, they weren't taken that way. I will take them down, although in principle I strongly object to being censored. Still, I have no intention of offending anyone in any way.

    Abraxas, for what it's worth, some people truly do believe in turning around words with negative connotations in a way that allows them to "own" the word. It's one way to survive when you feel maligned. You may not think it's effective or appropriate, but those people who scrawled those words on the sidewalk at your college believed it was. I don't appreciate that kind of language myself and I don't generally use it--and I'm not even sure that I agree with the idea--but it's their belief that it works somehow.

    As for posting a "gay words" list--why the hell not? Take a look at a few of the other lists on this site. It doesn't have to be derogatory. There IS a cultural difference, in my opinion. Just as with every ethnic or social group, or within certain occupations, members often use certain words and phrases within their own groups that they might not use in other situations. So someone ran a search for a gay list--is that a problem? (I'm not trying to be smart here--just asking.)

    When I first signed on to this site and was browsing, I recall reading a discussion about a particularly offensive list and whether it should be taken down (see John's reference). The agreement was to let it stand, for the precise reason uselessness mentions--so members have the freedom to categorize words in whatever way they choose. That's why I stayed (that, and the fact that this site is truly addictive). I hope that doesn't change.

    John, I agree with chained_bear and uselessness regarding the addition of a talk feature. Sounds like a great idea, as long as it doesn't detract from the sheer and delightful serendipity of coming across discussions under word or list pages where you least expect them. And thank you for adding yet another obsession to my life. ;-)

    February 19, 2007

  • The answer to hate speech or speech one disagrees with is not censorship (or even self-censorship), but more speech. This site seems to celebrate speech and language in all its forms, which I salute.

    Secondly, I'd just like to say, I am still craving a refreshing, citrusy lemon-lime-flavored beverage, and I don't know why.

    February 19, 2007

  • Thanks reesetee! The key is to avoid taking Wordie in the wrong direction. Why make word lists about Gays? Are there word lists about Jews we should all be snickering about?

    Freedom of speech is crucial here but I think the best & most active Wordies - & you are one - have a responsibility to keep this site as positive & ethical as possible.

    Lets keep Wordie fun, educational & welcoming towards all.

    As an aside, I certainly am guilty of using overly judgmental & incendiary words in my original comment. I could have handled my feelings in a more mature & fair-minded manner for sure.

    February 19, 2007

  • Thanks, palooka--much appreciated. Honestly, I myself see no reason to make a list about gays--and to clarify, I was referring to a "cultural-speak" list, not a list of epithets, obscenities, or the like. It was certainly not a reference to a list we would all have a good laugh over at the expense of a particular "target."

    Secondly, I respectfully take issue with your telling me what my ethical duties are, here or anywhere else. I believe I know them quite well. I have made my apologies, and I'm going to leave this discussion at that.

    February 19, 2007

  • This is a fascinating and important conversation and I'm glad we're all having it in a civil manner. I feel I should speak up about why there are lists of "gay" words--not euphemisms or names for gay people, although there are those too--but words like sprite that carry connotations, often humorous, that in turn started this whole conversation. Language is the mirror of thought. If this site restricts people from listing/categorizing certain words, or if people using the site restrict themselves from using/categorizing words they want to use, then what is its value? How does it allow the full exploration of language, and thence of thought, if it restricts--or if its users restrict, for whatever reason--what is allowed to be thought or expressed?

    An even more difficult question is, who gets to determine what words should be allowed and what words shouldn't? If, for example, people don't like to see swear words, then I'm a big offender, because fuck (and all its glorious variants) is one of my favorite words in any language. What is to prevent someone from putting forth the argument that fuck should be disallowed because it may offend some people, or children may be using Wordie, or any other argument in that direction?

    There is an interesting conversation, as someone pointed out, that took place on this site about just this subject (perhaps someone will post a link here as I was unable to find it again). I found the list that was the center of that conversation to be far more disturbing and unpalatable, to me, than anything I've seen on the site since. Yet it was decided to leave the list in place (a decision I applaud). It is up to users to accept this site, and its words--ALL of them--as representative of the community of people who use it. It isn't fair or right to suggest that people cannot use or list words in whatever way they choose. I'm sure there's a line somewhere--as you suggested, a list of denigrating terms for Jewish people might be on that line and might not, who knows. But I don't think this particular conversation, or the suggestion that there are words that taken together remind one of gay culture, is offensive enough that it requires censorship or self-censorship.

    Everyone involved on this particular conversation has attested to their community-mindedness and their sorrow that anyone would take offense at what was (to them) a clearly light-hearted conversation. IMHO, that should be enough. Just as a person should be free to ignore a list or debate its value or question the intention with which it was posted--one of the greatest features of this site--so should a person feel free and able to post any words to any list he or she desires. That is, after all, the point of the site. More speech! More speech! :-) Let's keep talking--that's the main point.

    February 19, 2007

  • There are some great Jewish words, I wouldn't necessarily mind such a list. It's possible to be funny without showing disrespect. There's already a few great Yiddish lists here. I just wordied Jewtastic, which I encountered the other day as a tag for Michael Chabon's novels. Spit my Dr. Pepper all over the place.

    Chained_bear, here's the link to the last similar debate. And.. perhaps what you need is an icy-fresh Zima?

    February 19, 2007

  • Zima! Good heavens. They still make that stuff?! ;-)

    February 19, 2007

  • I too appreciate the civilized nature of the discussion. I deleted the word "fudgepacker" from an earlier list, leaving the more Oscar-Wildeish "catamite". And I think that the only reason I posted the f-p word to begin with was because I'm gay, and find it to be hilarious rather than offensive.

    My deletions were, I think, more based on not finding a list of different names for someone who's gay all that thrilling in the final analysis. But also not wanting to cause undue offence (whatever that is).

    Zima is, of course, totally gay.

    February 19, 2007

  • Thanks chained_bear! I like the word fuck too! It's not the word, it's the intention behind it's use. The word fuck can be used in a joyful or highly offensive manner.

    Your points are well taken. I can certainly be an overly judgmental idiot on occasion - I didn't choose the handle "palooka" lightly! It's highly self-descriptive.

    February 19, 2007