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calculus n. A branch of math dealing with derivatives and integrals, based on the summation of infinitesimal differences. The beauty is the origin of the word – Latin “small pebble” – as in the stones used on an abacus. I like the thought of making those summations one calculus at a time. Also a medical term for kidney/gall stones.

nervure n. Entomology: each of the hollow veins forming the framework of an insect’s wings. Botany: the principal vein on a leaf. (note the small spaces between nervure are areola, from Latin “small open space”. I like this other, less-well-known meaning. It adds something nice to the commonly known meaning.)

soubriquet n. A person’s nickname.


I have loved words forever. Years ago I had a large vocabulary – I especially liked rare words because they so often capture life exactly.

I’ve got a book. It’s called 2000 Most Challenging and Obscure Words. I’ve had it for ages. Yes I read the dictionary, and yeah, I dig it.

So, to start, here are three words with definitions lifted from the 2000 words book:

etymon (ET uh mon) n. The original root or true origin of a word.

bahuvrihi (bah hooh VREE hee) n. A bahuvrihi is a compound noun or adjective consisting of two parts, an adjective and a noun, the combination describing someone or something characterized by what is denoted by the noun. Ex: bluebell, bonehead, hard-hearted, redcoat, redhead, and bahuvrihi itself which is a Sanskrit word meaning “with much rice”, based on bohu- (much) plus vrihi (rice).

fundament (FUN duh munt) n. We are familiar with the adjective fundamental, a synonym of basic, underlying, which describes anything that goes to the root of the matter and is an essential part of whatever may be involved. We speak of fundamental rules, fundamental principles, a fundamental change or revision, a fundamental concept or idea. A far cry from fundament itself, meaning “buttox”, aka. the arse, behind, derriere, and nates with additional meaning, according to some dictionaries of “anus”, aka. the ass-hole, bung-hole, and lots of other disagreeable nicknames. The fundament, then, refers to the lower part of the torso in general.