Word-built world


noun: nocebo; plural noun: nocebos
  1. a detrimental effect on health produced by psychological or psychosomatic factors such as negative expectations of treatment or prognosis.

Origin1960s: from Latin, literally ‘I shall cause harm,’ from nocere, ‘to harm,’ on the pattern of placebo .


Etymology:  late 17th century: from French, or via modern Latin from Greek anekdota ‘things unpublished,’ from an-‘not’ + ekdotos, from ekdidōnai ‘publish.’

doctor:  The root of the word doctor is docile (according to Parkinson’s Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English)



verb: dox; 3rd person present: doxes; past tense: doxed; past participle: doxed; gerund or present participle: doxing; verb: doxx; 3rd person present: doxxes; past tense: doxxed; past participle: doxxed; gerund or present participle: doxxing
  1. search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent.
    “hackers and online vigilantes routinely dox both public and private figures”
Originearly 21st century: alteration of docs, plural of doc (short for document).


MEANING:  noun: A happy ending, especially one in which, instead of an impending disaster, a sudden turn leads to a favorable resolution of the story.
ETYMOLOGY:  Coined by J.R.R. Tolkien in a letter in 1944, from Greek eu- (good) + catastrophe, from kata- (down) + strophe (turning). Earliest documented use 1944.

rompe l’oeil:      

(tromp loi) 
1. A style of painting in which objects are rendered in extremely realistic detail, giving an illusion of reality.
2. A painting, mural, etc., made in this style.

ETYMOLOGY:   From French, literally “fools the eye”, from tromper (to deceive) + le (the) + oeil (eye). Earliest documented use: 1889.

Pascal’s Wager 

…is an argument in philosophy presented by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist BlaisePascal (1623–62). It posits that humans bet with their lives that God either exists or does not.

Mens rea:  

Mens rea is the mental element of a person’s intention to commit a crime; or knowledge that one’s action or lack of action would cause a crime to be committed. It is a necessary element of many crimes. Wikipedia

mindful fucking

Having sex with the whole person rather than just a body.



Origin1990s; earliest use found in Usenet (newsgroups). From arti- + -lect (artificial + intellect).


nounephebe; plural noun: ephebes
  1. (in ancient Greece) a young man of 18–20 years undergoing military training.
Origin:  via Latin from Greek ephēbos ‘adolescent boy,’ from epi ‘near to’ + hēbē ‘early manhood.’



adjective:  louche; comparative adjective: loucher; superlative adjective: louchest

  1. disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing way.
    “the louche world of the theater”

Origin:  early 19th century: from French, literally ‘squinting.’

age derives from the word always (Partridge’s “Origins”)

witch derives from the word victim (Partridge’s “Origins”)


qualia; noun: quale:  the internal and subjective component of sense perceptions, arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena.



adjective:  nescient

  1. lacking knowledge; ignorant.
    “I ventured into the new Korean restaurant with some equally nescient companions”


late Middle English: from Latin nescient- ‘not knowing,’ from the verb nescire, from ne- ‘not’ + scire‘know.’

PRONUNCIATION:  (par-uh-GNO-sis) 

MEANING:  noun: Knowledge that cannot be obtained by normal means.

ETYMOLOGY:  From Greek para- (beyond) + gnosis (knowledge). Earliest documented use: 1933.

chin music

  1. 1.
    idle chatter.
  2. 2.
    used to refer to a pitched ball that passes very close to the batter’s chin.
    “Clemens delivered some wicked chin music to Hernandez”


Pronunciation RealAudio

anagnorisis (an-ag-NOR-uh-sis) noun
The moment of recognition or discovery (in a play, etc.)
[From Latin, from Greek anagnorizein (to recognize or discover). Ultimately from Indo-European root gno- (to know) that is the ancestor of such words as know, can, notorious, notice, connoisseur, recognize, diagnosis, ignore, annotate, noble, and narrate.]
NOTES: If you’ve ever been to a movie involving two brothers separated at birth, one of whom ends up as a criminal and the other a police officer, you already know about today’s word. Anagnorisis is the point near the end of the movie where the brothers face each other, notice similar lockets in other’s necks (that their mother gave them at their birth) and discover that they are twins, drop their guns, and hug each other tightly.
Anagnorisis was originally the critical moment in a Greek tragedy, usually accompanied by a peripeteia (reversal), leading to the denouement of a story. An example is when Oedipus recognizes that the woman he is married to (Jocasta) is really his mother. Aristotle discussed it at length in his Poetics. He talked about many different kinds of such recognitions, e.g. by memory, by reasoning, etc. The worst, according to him, is recognition by signs, such as scars, birthmarks, tokens, etc. (including lockets!)
“A shame, though, that the anagnorisis of the movie, literally, the recognition scene, falls so short of the novel’s heartstopping pathos.”
Anthony Quinn; Film: Puddle Deep, Mountain High; The Independent(London, UK); Dec 26, 2003.
“… his latest book, ‘Blinded by the Right,’ in which he (David Brock) confesses that everything he wrote earlier in his career as a conservative — before his anagnorisis as a born-again liberal — was a lie.”
Kathleen Parker; Let’s Put Right-wing Conspiracy Issue to Rest; The Grand Rapids Press (Michigan); Mar 21, 2002.


(noun: OB-vuhrs, adjective: ob-VUHRS) 
noun: 1. The side of a coin, medal, etc. that has the main design.
2. The front or the principal side of anything.
3. A counterpart to something.
adjective: 1. Facing the observer.
2. Serving as a counterpart to something.


From Latin obvertere (to turn toward), from ob- (toward) + vertere (to turn). Ultimately from the Indo-European root wer- (to turn or bend), which is also the source of words such as wring, weird, writhe, worth, revert, and universe. Earliest documented use: 1656.


The front of a coin is called the obverse, the other side is the reverse. The obverse is also termed as the head because the front typically portrays the head of someone famous. The reverse side is known as the tail even though it doesn’t show the tail of that famous person.


“But the conviction that the truth must be mathematically elegant can easily lead to a false obverse: that what is mathematically elegant must be true.”
–No GUTs, No Glory; The Economist (London, UK); Jan 13, 2018.





noun: A profound transformation in one’s outlook.


From Greek metanoia (a change of mind), from metanoein (to change one’s mind). Earliest documented use: 1577.
nice:  from Latin nescius meaning ignorant, unaware, literally not-knowing.
allow:  from the Latin ad + laudare meaning “to praise.”

heretic:  from the Greek hairetikos meaning “able to choose.”

pattern:  is from the Latin pater, meaning father.

carcinoma:  a malignant tumor of epithelial origin.

epithelium and feminine derive from the Greek thele, meaning nipple.

masturbation:  disturbing male seed.

orthodoxy:  straight thinking.

philanthropy:  lover of mankind.

apocalypse:  from Greek, meaning an unveiling, a moment in which something is revealed that changes our perception of everything (definition via Nathan Schneider)

idiot:  comes from Greek idios  which means “one’s own, peculiar to oneself.” We see it in our English word idiosyncrasy and idiomatic—and it is where we get the word idiot, or a person who is consumed with himself.

approve:  from prove which comes from pro- meaning in favor and bus meaning to be.  So approve means to be in favor of being.

diagnosis:  from Greek dia- meaning through and Greek gnosis meaning knowing.

peripatetic:  disciple of Aristotle from Greek  peripatetikos “given to walking about” (especially while teaching), from peripatein, from peri “around” + patein“to walk.” Aristotle’s custom was to teach while strolling through the Lyceum in Athens.

gullible:  from Middle English cull meaning to pluck or gather.

reify:  to regard (something abstract) as a material or concrete thing.

debt:  from Latin debere meaning to to owe, originally, to keep something away from someone.

experience:  from Latin periculum meaning to attempt or to fail, also fear.  An expert is one who has experienced.

restaurant:  from French restaurer meaning to restore

infant:  comes from Latin infans meaning without speech

axiom: comes from Greek axios meaning worthy

atom:  comes from the Latin atomus meaning indivisible

bad:  comes from the Old English baeddel meaning effeminate man


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