Otherworldly Words: Dire

If you watch the news, you’re quite familiar with this word. many dire situations arise around the globe and dire predictions—from the stock market to the climate. Dire derives from the Latin, meaning fearful or unlucky. I think the crux of the word is in those two words together: we are filled with fear about…

Otherworldly Words: Pierrot

Clowns creep many people out. Why is that? Do you think it’s because they express a twisted duality within human nature, as a character who wears a sad face but makes us laugh with buffoonish antics; or conversely, wears a happy face while wilting inside. Or do you think it’s just because they’re freakin’ weird, and we…

Otherworldly Words: Timorous

This month in #Otherworldly Words, I am exploring words to do with fear. Timorous continues the path of words that cast contempt on those who show fear. Exploring the nature of fear is important. Certainly, fear has many natural components, survival instinct and adrenaline for instance. But the meaning we place on fear as a…

Otherworldly Words: Cower

This month in #Otherworldly Words, I am exploring words to do with fear. The first two words described cowardice. Cower is an action that demonstrates fear. Interesting is the link between being afraid and shame, since one can “cower with shame” as well as fear. If you enjoyed this post, look around, or sign up below…

Otherworldly Words: Poltroon

#Otherworldly Words explores words that deal with the frightening or supernatural. This month I’m exploring words that express cowardice. Poltroon derives from Old Italian meaning foal and Latin meaning young animal. This is similar to calling someone a “scaredy cat” to liken them to a young horse that startles easily. It’s important to note that the…

Otherworldly Words: Craven

#OtherworldlyWords returns with craven. Craven is the first in a group of words this month expressing fear or cowardice. In my opinion, the most interesting element in these words is how closely words for cowardice are tied to overall moral character. Many of the words make the leap that if you are a coward, you…

Otherworldly Words: Illusory

April Fools’ Day is long gone, but I still have one last word about trickery up my sleeve. Illusory is from a Latin derivative meaning to mock or ridicule. It’s a fitting end to this look at words of trickery, mockery, and deception—words that makes us fools.  Illusion can be thrilling, frightening, mildly entertaining, or, as is…

Otherworldly Words: ideomotor effect

April Fools’ Day is long gone, but I’m still exploring words about trickery throughout the month. The ideomotor effect fits the bill. This term offers a scientific explanation, a Scully if you will, for such phenomenon as moves a Ouija board. (Other than a cheesy GIF.) Basically, the effect suggests that mental expectation involuntarily influences…

Otherworldly Words: Brocken spectre

April is a month for fools! From words that refer to natural phenomenon that have misled  us to words to describe the things we do to make fools of others, this month I’ll explore words to do with some sort of trickery. First up is brocken spectre. This optical illusion caused by one’s own shadow…

Otherworldly Words: Obsess

Ah, amore! It’s February and our minds turn to St. Valentine’s Day and longing gazes and tokens of love. But what about when love crosses the line? #OtherworldlyWords returns with a look at four words that describe the downside of love and attraction. While marketed as a good thing for cologne, obsession can have its…