#Otherworldly Words: Succubus

It’s March, and I’m continuing to look at less than flattering words to describe women.  (You can see why, in my first post!) The second word this month is succubus. As you can see from the illustration, a succubus is a type of temptress. (The male form is incubus.) Looking at the words this month,…

Otherworldly Words: Amaranthine

Finishing up February is amaranthine. This adjective lends a beautiful, ethereal feel to the concept of endless time. Amaranthine is derived from the myth of the amaranth, the legendary undying flower. Of course, amaranth is a real family of flowers, too, and a grain alternative.   All this month, I have introduced and discussed words dealing…

Otherworldly Words: Mesmerize

This whole month I’ve taken a look at words named after someone: January mausoleum Fortean Joining the ranks is mesmerize. Like mausoleum, we no longer capitalize mesmerize, despite its being named after the Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer. He theorized “animal magnetism,” which he thought was the force that passes between two people or inanimate…

Otherworldly Words: Fortean

Not everybody gets a word named after him, not to mention an entire society! Charles Fort is just one of those individuals. Fortean, meaning “pertaining to extraordinary and strange phenomenon and happenings” is named after this expert in the paranormal. He research and cataloged phenomenon from UFOs to spontaneous human combustion to poltergeist. His tomes…

Otherworldly Words: Mausoleum

This month, I’m exploring words named after people. I started with January. Today the mausoleum is thought of as a repository for our lost loved ones and part of what make historic cemeteries beautiful, peaceful places of quietude. Originally, however, the word had a very specific meaning as the tomb of Mausolus, king of Caria, who ruled part of…

Otherworldly Words: January

  January is a time for new beginnings, and apparently, for looking back. This month, I’m exploring words named for people, or, as in the case of January, named for a God. January is the month dedicated to Janus, the two-faced God of beginnings, transitions, and as such, doorways as well as the rising and setting of the…

Otherworldly Words: Mordant

Mordant derives from the Latin mordere meaning “to bite.” I have, on occasion, been accused of being mordant. I call it, “all in good fun.” I have even caused friends to storm off. Limits, man. It’s all about limits when you have a caustic wit.   If you enjoyed this post, look around, or sign up…

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: Tenebrous

November is associated with many things: Thanksgiving and Black Friday (in America and the Canadian border), the beginning of the Christmas season, and football. I, however, associate November with clouds. Oppressive, heavy, life-draining clouds. So, for me, tenebrous is a fitting word for November, as it is often both dark and gloomy. Tenebrous’s meaning as “obscure”…