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list of wwftds

Herein is a complete list of "wwftd"s™ dating from ca. 1987 to present. This started as a "word for the day up on the blackboard" sort of thing and has degenerated into its current form; irregular distribution to a mail list via e-mail...and now this.

 Copyright © 1995-2014 -- Michael A. Fischer 
    wwftd email


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

U

ubermensch
{G.] a superior being: superman
uberty
[L. ubertas]  now rare  fruitfulness, fertility; copiousness, abundance
ubiety
position, location; whereness
ubiquit
[back-formation from ubiquitous or ubiquity, fr. L. ubique, everywhere]
obs.  to make ubiquitous (as to turn up everywhere)
ucalegon
[Ucalegon is one of Priam's friends in the Iliad, and the destruction of his house is referred to in the Aeneid: jam proximus ardet Ucalegon]
/yoo KAL uh gon/  archaic  a neighbor whose house is on fire or has burned down
ufology
the study of unidentified flying objects
uglyography
bad handwriting; uncouth spelling; hence, uglyographize (to spell uncouthly)
[coined, and used only, by Robert Southey]
ugsome
archaic  frightful, loathsome
ullage
1) the amount which a vessel, as a cask of wine, lacks of being full; wantage; deficiency
2) slang  the amount (of wine) left in glasses in a restaurant
ultimogeniture
rights of the last-born
ultracrepidarian
[adj] going beyond one's proper province; giving opinions on matters beyond one's knowledge
[n] one who ventures beyond his scope; an ignorant or presumptuous critic
ultracrepidarianism
giving opinions outside of one's knowledge
ultrafidian
going beyond faith
ultramontane
[fr. Med. L. ultramontanus, beyond the mountain]
1) situated beyond the (Alps) mountains
2) of or relating to ultramontanism: advocating the greatest possible enhancement of papal power and authority [from the fact that the papal seat was located the other side of the Alps from the French]; hence, ultramontanist: a supporter of ultramontanism
3) claiming an absolute supremacy or a privileged superiority
ultramundane
situated beyond the world, or beyond the limits of the solar system
ultroneous
/ul TROH nee ous/  a)  obs.  made or offered of one's own accord; spontaneous, voluntary
b) Scot. Law  of witnesses: relating to testimony given without citation
ululate
howl, wail
umbrageous
[fr. umbrage, < L. umbra, shadow]
1) affording shade, shady; shadowy
2) inclined to take offense easily: beligerant, resentful
unasinous
equally stupid
unau
[Port. < Tuni uná, lazy]  /YOO now/
Zool.  the South American two-toed sloth  (cf. ai)
uncomeatable
[un- + come-at-able : attainable]  also un-come-at-able
unattainable; inaccessible
unctuous
fatty, oily; rich in organic matter; marked by a smug, ingratiating and false earnestness
underconstumble
[alteration of undercumstand < understand]
UK dialect  to understand (also undercumstumble)
undercumstumble
see previous
undercroft
underground room or vault, esp under a church; crypt
unguinous
fatty, oily
unipotent
having power in one way only; esp: capable of developing only in one direction or to one end product
univocal
/yu NI va kal/  having one meaning only; unambiguous (ant. of equivocal)
unkent
[fr. un- + ken]  (also unkenned)
Scot. & N. Eng. dial.  unknown
unphilosophise
[un- + philosophize]  to degrade from the character of a philosopher
unpregnant
obs. in this sense  not prolific; slow of wit, inept   unpregnant of my cause - Hamlet
unseven
obs, rare  to render other than seven; to reduce from seven in number
unsonsy
Brit. dial.  1) boding or causing misfortune: unlucky  2) unpleasant, disagreeable
unsuasible
not susceptible to persuasion, not suasible: unpersuadable
untermensch
[G. fr. unter, under + mensch, person]  derogatory  an inferior person; a subhuman; cf. ubermensch
unthirlable
[fr. un- + thirlable]  obs.  impenetrable
upaithric
[fr. Gk upaithros, cf. hypaehtral]
Shelley’s nonce word  open to the air; having no roof: hypæthral
Their temples were mostly upaithric; and the flying clouds, the stars.. were seen above - Percy Shelley
upas
[fr. Indon. Malay pohon upas, poison tree]  /YÜ puhs/
1) a tall tropical Asian tree of the mulberry family with a latex that contains a substance used as an arrow poison; also: a poisonous concentrate of the this latex
2) a poisonous or harmful influence or institution
uplift
[fr. earlier sense, to lift up or elevate]
sci fi  to engineer a species (usually genetically) to make them intelligent; also, the act of uplifting
upscuddle
[up- + scuddle, origin uncertain]  South. U.S. dial.  a quarrel
uranological
regarding or pertaining to uranology/astronomy
uranologist
one who studies or writes on uranology
uranology
[fr. Gk ouranos: sky, heaven(s) + -logy]  /yur uh NAL uh jee/  (also ouranology)
1) the study of the heavens: astronomy 2) a discourse or treatise on the heavens
urgrund
[G. < ur- primal + grund, ground]  /UR grunt/  a primal cause or ultimate cosmic principle
urinator
one who dives under water in search of something, as for pearls; a diver
uroboros
[fr. Gk ouroboros]  the symbol, usu. in the form of a circle, of a snake (or dragon) eating its own tail
uropygial
[see next]  characteristic of or relating to a bird's rump
uropygium
[Gk ouropygion, fr. ouro- tail + pyge rump]  /YOOR uh PI jee um/
Ornith.  the fleshy and bony prominence at the posterior extremity of a bird's body that supports the tail feathers: the rump
ursprache
[G. ur-, original + sprache, speech]
usu. capitalized  a parent language: proto-language
urticate
to produce wheals or itching
ush
[back-formation from usher]  U.S. slang  to serve as an usher
usquebaugh
[fr. Irish Gaelic uisce beathadh, water of life, whiskey (translation of Medieval Latin aqua vitae)]
/OOS kwi bah/   Irish & Scot.  whiskey
usufruct
1) the legal right of using and enjoying the fruits or profits of something belonging to another
2) the right to use or enjoy something
uterine
[fr. L. uterinus]
1) of or relating to the uterus
2) having the same mother but different fathers   uterine brothers
3) being enclosed and dark; womblike
uxorial
[fr. L. uxori-us < uxor, wife]
1) of or pertaining to a wife  2) excessively fond of or submissive to a wife: uxorious
uxoricide
1) the murder of a wife by her husband  2) a wife murderer
uxorious
excessively fond of or submissive to a wife
uxorodespotism
ruthless, tyrannical domination by a wife  (see also maritodespotism)
uzzard
1) the letter z: izzard
2) a third-generation bastard


V

vagary
an erratic, extravagant or unpredictable manifestation, action or notion
vagrarious
nonce-word  vagrant, wandering
vagrom
[alteration of vagrant, in modern use only after Shakespeare]  /VAY grom/
1) vagrant, vagabond, wandering   You shall comprehend all vagrom men. - W. Shakespeare, Much Ado..
2) eccentric, erratic
vagulate
nonce-word  to wander in a vague manner; to waver  (used only in the writings of Virginia Woolf)
vail
[aphetic var. of avail]  [n] a tip; gratuity
valetudinarian
a person of weak or sickly constitution
vampirarchy
[vampire + -archy, rule of]  exploitative rule comparable to rule by vampires
vanishment
[vanish + -ment]  an act of vanishing or state of having vanished
vapulate
[see next]  obs. rare  1) to beat or flog  2) to suffer vapulation
vapulation
[fr. L. vapulare, to be beaten]  obs.  a beating or flogging
vapulatory
rare  of or relating to flogging
variorum
[L. variorum, of various persons]
1) an edition or text with notes by different persons
2) an edition containing variant readings of the text
3) Sc., fig.  a variation
vastity
[fr. L. vastitas < vastus empty, waste]  archaic
1) a waste or desolate condition
all the vastity of the Arabian peninsula - C.M.Doughty
2) vastness, vastitude
vatic
prophetic, oracular
vaticide
[fr. L. vates seer, prophet; (trans.) bard, poet]
a murderer of prophets (Johnson, 1828} [the modern rendering, in most cases]
a murderer of poets {Johnson, 1836}
vaticinate
[fr. L. vaticinari ,to prophesy]  to prophesy; to predict
vaticination
a prediction; a prophecy
vauntless
[fr. vaunt, boasting or bragging + -less]  not bragging or boasting
vaward
the foremost part: forefront
"You that are old consider not the capacities of us that are young; you do measure the heat of our livers with the bitterness of your galls: and we that are in the vaward of our youth, I must confess, are wags too." -Shakespeare, Henry IV, part ii
vecordious
[ad. L. vecordia, fr. vecors: senseless, foolish]  /ve KOR dius/
rare  senseless, crazy, mad
vecordy
[see preceding]  very rare  madness, folly {Blount}
vegan
one who refrains from consuming (or using) animal products
velitation
[fr. L. velitari, to skirmish]  /vel i TEY shun/  now rare  a minor dispute or contest
velleity
the lowest degree of volition; a slight wish or tendency, inclination
velutinous
[fr. L. velutum, velvet]  /vuh LUT uh nus/
covered with dense, silky hairs: velvety
venatic
of, relating to, or used in hunting; fond of or living by hunting
vendible
[fr. L. vendere, to sell]
1) available or suitable for sale  vendible produce
2) of a kind to command a cash return  vendible beauty
(also a jocular usage for vending)
vendictivolence
[fr. L. vindicta vengeance, after malevolence]
nonce-word  the desire of revenging oneself or of taking vengeance
vendition
[F. fr. L. vendere, to vend]  /ven DISH en/  the act of vending or selling; sale
venefic
having poisonous effects
vengeant
[fr. Anglo-Norman vengant < venger, to avenge]  archaic  avenging
venireman
member of a venire (panel from which a jury is drawn)
ventose
windy; flatulent
ventripotent
[see next]  taking a greedy delight in eating
ventripotential
[ad. F. ventripotent, fr. L. venter, belly + potens, powerful]
nonce-word  hving a large abdomen; big-bellied
venust
obs.  handsome, beautiful; elegant, graceful; comely in appearance
venustate
[L.]  obs.  to make beautiful, fair or sightly  {found in Blount's Glossographia (1656)}
venustation
a making handsome or beautiful
verbicide
a person who intentionally twists the meaning of a word
verbificent
[as if fr. L. verbificus, making or generating words (see Hobbes)]  /ver BIF i cent/
1) extremely liberal in making new words
2) using high-sounding or fabricated words where common ones would do
verbigeration
[fr. L. verbiger, carrying words]  the senseless repetition of stereotyped phrases, esp. as a symptom of mental illness
verborrhea
[fr. verbal diarrhea]  diarrhea of the mouth; cf. logorrhea
veridical
truthful, veracious; genuine
veriloquence
truthful speech; nothing but the truth
verisimilitude
the quality or state of being verisimilar (having the appearance of truth)
verklempt
[Yiddish]  (also ferklempt, etc.) overcome with emotion
vermian
relating to worms
vermicular
[fr. Latin vermiculus] 1) resembling a worm in form or motion  2) of, relating to, or caused by worms
vermiform
1) wormlike, shaped like a worm  2) useless, cf. vermiform appendix
The modern king has become a vermiform appendix: useless when quiet; when obtrusive, in danger of removal. -- Austin O'Malley
vernalagnia
spring fever
vernissage
a private showing or preview of an art collection
verrucose
covered with warty elevations
versal
[short for universal]  archaic  entire, whole
verso
[fr. L. vertere, to turn]  /VUR so/
1) the back side of a printed sheet  2) the left-hand page of an open book  (compare recto)
vertiginate
[fr. L. vertiginare < vertigo, a whirling around]  /ver TIJ uh nate/
rare  [adj] 'Turned round, giddy' {Webster, 1864}  [v] to whirl dizzily around, spin, twirl
vertiginous
[ad. L. vertigo, a whirling]  /ver TIJ uh nus/
1) revolving; whirling round  2) affected with vertigo or dizziness; giddy, dizzy  3) unstable
vespertine
[fr. L. vesper, evening]  relating to, or occurring in the evening
vespillo
[ad. L. vespillo; fr. vesper, evening]  also vespillon
obs. rare  he that carries forth dead bodies in the night to be buried, as they use in time of plague and great sickness {Blount, 1656}
vetanda
[fr. L. vetare, to forbid]  /ve TAN duh/  rare  forbidden things
vetust
old, ancient, antique
vexillology
[fr. L. vexillum flag + –ology]  the study of flags
viaggiatory
[fr. It. viaggiare to travel]  (nonce-word appropriated by G. Wolfe)
[adj] on the move; given to traveling around  [n] a journey
vibrissa
[L. vibrissae, nostril hairs]  /vie BRIS uh/  pl. vibrissae
one of the long stiff hairs that project from the snout or brow of most mammals, as the whiskers of a cat  (also transf., somewhat speciously)
videlicet
[L. contr. of videre licet, it is permitted to see]  abbr. viz .
that is to say: namely; used to introduce examples, lists, or items
viduity
[L. viduitas < vidua, widow]   /vi DOO i tee/  widowhood
vigesimal
relating to or based on the number 20
vigesimation
the act of putting to death every twentieth man (cf. vigesimal and decimation)
vigneron
[F. < vigne, vine]  /VEEN yuh RO(n)E/  winegrower, viticulturist
vilipend
[fr. L. vilipendo, to depreciate, despise]  treat as of small worth; contemn; disparage
vilipending
[see vilipend]  [adj] disparaging  [n] disparagement
vilipensive
[fr. L. vilipendere]  /vil ih PEN sive/  abusive
villatic
[fr. L. villaticus, of a country house < villa]  /vi LAD ik/  of a farm or village: rural, rustic
vincible
[fr. L. vincere, to conquer]  /VIN(t) suh bul/
capable of being overcome or subdued
vinolency
[fr. L. vinolentia]  obs.  drunkenness
vinous
[fr. L .vinosus < vinum, wine]   /VI nus/
1) of or relating to wine
2) showing the efects of the use of wine  3) the color of wine
violaceous
[L. violaceus, violet-colored]  of a violet color, bluish purple
viraginity
masculine characteristics in a woman
viraginous
characteristic of a virago
virago
1) a woman of great stature, strength and courage
2) a loud overbearing woman: termagant
virgule
Printing  a diagonal mark ( / ): slash; cf. solidus
visuriency
[fr. L. visere, to behold + -ency]  obs. nonce-word  the desire of seeing
vitulation
obs, rare  a public thanksgiving or festival
vituperate
to abuse or censure severely or abusively: berate
vivandière
[F. < masc. vivandier, sutler]
a woman who formerly followed an army or maintained a store on an army post to sell provisions to the soldiers
vivarium
[L. park, preserve < vivus, alive]  /vi VAR ee um/
a place, especially an indoor enclosure, for keeping and raising living animals and plants under natural conditions for observation or research
vivificent
[fr. L. vivus, alive]  obs.  living
vivisepulture
burying alive
vizard
disguise
vocabularian
[vocabulary + -ian]  one who gives much or undue attention to words
vog
[blend of volcanic + smog]  Hawaiian coinage
air pollution caused by volcanic emissions
vogie
Scot.  1) vain, proud, conceited  2) merry, cheerful, delighted, gay
volage
[F.] giddy, foolish; fickle, inconsistent (in later literary use reintroduced from French); also in comb. volage-brained
volentine
[alteration of OF volatile, perhaps influenced by volent]
obs. rare, collect.  birds, fowls
volitant
[fr. L. volitare, to fly to and fro]  /VOL i tnt/
1) flying or capable of flying  2) moving about rapidly, to and fro
volitation
the act or power of flying
volplane
[F. vol plané, gliding flight]  1) to glide in or as if in an airplane  2) to make one's way be gliding
volte-face
a facing about esp in policy: about-face
vomitacious
[vomit + -acious]  (see also vomitous)  vomit-inducing; nauseating
vomitory
the entrance piercing the banks of seats of a stadium
vorlage
the position of a skier leaning forward from the ankles, usually without lifting the heels from the skis
vorticity
[fr. L. vortic-, vortex + -ity]  the state of a fluid in vortical motion
vortical : of, like or pertaining to a vortex: swirling
vorticity is the twirlness of a fluid - C. Tollefsen
votaress
a female votary
vouchsafe
to grant as a privilege or special favor
voussoir
[F.]  /vu SWAR/  one of the wedge-shaped pieces forming an arch or vault
vril
[coined by Bulwer-Lytton] a mysterious force imagined as having been discovered by the people described in The Coming Race; the fundamental resonant energy which is inherent to planetary structure {Tesla Society Scientific Dict.}
vug
a small unfilled cavity in a lode or in rock
vulpine
1) of, relating to, or resembling a fox
2) foxy, crafty


W

wabbit
[origin uncertain]  Scot.  tired out, exhausted; slightly ill
waesucks
Scot. interj.  used to express pity
wagon-lit
[F., fr. wagon, railroad car + lit, bed]  a railroad sleeping car
Waikikamukau
NZ slang  /why-kick-a-moo-cow/  mythical town that is so remote it makes Eketahuna look like a metropolis: Podunk
waldo
[fr. the name of Waldo F. Jones, the inventor of such gadgets in a science-fiction story by Robert Heinlein]
a device for handling or manipulating objects by remote control
walla-walla
an unintelligible sound made by many people talking at once
wallah
a person who is associated with a particular work or who performs a particular duty or service - usually used in combination; e.g., the wwftd master is a word wallah
wally
Brit slang  an idiot or imbecile
wallydraigle
Scot.  a feeble, imperfectly developed, or slovenly creature
Walpurgisnacht
1) the eve of May Day on which witches are held to ride to an appointed rendezvous
2) something (as an event or situation) having a nightmarish quality
wamble
to feel nausea; rumble ; to move unsteadily or with a weaving or rolling motion
wanker
Brit slang  1) a contemptible person, usu. a man: jerk  2) a masturbator
wantwit
[want + wit]  one who lacks wit or sense; a fool, blockhead
waveson
wreckage floating on the sea: flotsam (compare jetsam)
wax
[of obscure origin; perh. fr. phrase to wax angry]
Brit. informal, old-fash.  a fit of rage or temper
wayzgoose
a printer's annual dinner or excursion [the name for an entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen each year on or about St Bartholomew's Day (24 August), marking the end of summer and the beginning of the season of working by candlelight]
wazzock
[origin unknown]  UK informal  a stupid or annoying person
weasy
a spurious word in dictionaries, based on a misreading of 'wealy' in Joye's "The exposicion of Daniel the prophete"; hence weasiness (wealines[s]) from the same source.
[?] Given to sensual indulgence; gluttonous  {Webster's Revised, 1913}
wegotism
[jocular blend of we + egotism]  an obtrusive and too frequent use of the editorial we; hence, wegotist
welkin
1) the vault of heaven; the sky
2) the upper air, sky; air
weltanschauung
[G.] a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world, esp. from a specific standpoint: world-view
weltschmerz
[G.] 1) mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state
2) a mood of sentimental sadness
wergild
money paid by a killer's family to the family of the victim to prevent a blood feud; the cash value of a man's life
wesort
[probably from 'we sort' (i.e., our sort)]  usually capitalized
one of a group of people of mixed white-black-Indian ancestry living in southern Maryland
whamboozled
[wham + bamboozled, coined by Norman Chad]  hoodwinked and eliminated (from a poker tournament)
whangdoodle
1) a fanciful creature of undefined nature 2) stuff and nonsense
wheeze
[in this sense, orig. Theatrical slang, a joke or comic gag introduced into a performance]
Brit. slang  a catchphrase constantly repeated; more widely, a trick or dodge frequently used
whelm
to cover or engulf completely with usually disastrous effect, destroy, overpower; hence, whelming : overwhelming
whiffled
[origin obscure; cf. squiffy]  intoxicated, drunk  (whiffed in Wodehouse?)
whiffler
[fr. wifle, battle-ax]  Brit.  one that clears the way for a procession
whigmaleerie
Scot.  1) whim  2) an odd or fanciful contrivance: gimcrack
whilom
[fr. OE. hwílum, later]  /HWI lum/
archaic  [adv] while; formerly  [adj] former  (see also erstwhile and quondam)
whinge
Brit.  to complain fretfully: whine; hence whinging
whipsloven
[whip + sloven, a knave]  (also whypsloven)
obs. ? a sloven who deserves whipping
whoopensocker
regional U.S. dial.  something extraordinary of its kind, esp. a large or strong drink
whoremonger
a man consorting with whores or given to lechery
widdershins
(also withershins)  [adj] moving in a counterclockwise (or left-handed) direction, contrary to the apparent course of the sun (considered as unlucky or sinister); unlucky, ill-fated, relating to the occult
widdiful
[fr. Sc. widdy, a rope for hanging]
Scot.  (n) one who deserves hanging, a gallows-bird; a scamp, rascal
(a) fit for a halter, deserving to be hanged; scampish, rascally
widdy
Scot.  a hangman's noose
williwaw
sudden gust of cold air; violent commotion
wimble-wamble
[redupl. of wamble]  Brit. dial.  to roll about in walking [n] the ordinary crowd
windigo
(also wendigo) /WIN-di-go/
(in the folklore of the Ojibwa and other American Indians) a cannibalistic giant, the transformation of a person who has eaten human flesh
winx
obs.  to bray like an ass  (Brit. dialect, related to whinny)
witter
[see next]  to chatter or mutter; to grumble; to speak with annoying lengthiness on trivial matters
wittering
[perh. fr. Sc. whitter, to warble or twitter]  U.K. informal, colloq.  continuous pointless chatter: chattering
witticaster
[fr. wit or witty, after criticaster; fr. L. -aster, expressing incomplete resemblance]
nonce-word  a petty or inferior wit, a witling
wittol
1) a husband who accepts his wife's infidelity
2) a stupid person; a person with no wits, not even a half-wit
witzelsucht
a morbid tendency to pun, make poor jokes, and tell pointless stories
wlatsome
loathsome
wodge
[alt. of wedge]  /wodj/  UK informal  a large piece or amount of something
womoonless
nonce-word   jocular combination of womanless and moonless
Croak of vast manless moonless womoonless marsh. - J. Joyce, Ulysses
wonk
a nerd
woodpusher
[blend of wood + pusher]  slang  a poor chess player; a patzer
woodshedding
[vbl. n.] 1) the dispensing of punishment
2a) the practice or rehearsal of music  b) spontaneous or improvised barber-shop singing
wootz
[perh. a corruption of Canarese ukku, steel]  /wootz/
a type of steel imported from the East Indies, valued for making edge tools; Indian steel
wordanista
[coined by Steven Colbert, after fashionista, etc.; -ista has been given a pejorative twist in English]  /word uh NEE sta/
someone who tells others what is or is not a word, based on what they have read in books
wordster
[word + -ster]  /WORD ster/  one that is adept in the use of words, esp. in an empty or overblown manner
worthful
having worth or value; valuable; precious
wouldingness
[fr. woulding (desiring) + -ness]  obs. nonce-word  desire, inclination: velleity
wowser
an obtrusively puritanical person
wreak
/reek/  1) to inflict upon a person  2) to express; vent  3) to cause
writative
[write + -ative, (after talkative)]  /WRITE uh tiv/  inclined to much writing
writhen
[pa. pple. of writhe, fr. OE writhan]  being twisted or contorted
wrongeousness
[after righteousness]  the state or condition of being wrong; wrongfulness


X

Xanthippe
[Socrate's scolding wife]  any nagging, peevish or irritable woman
xebec
a 3-masted Mediterranean sailing ship
xenodochiophobia
the fear of foreign hospitality (worry about foreign hotels)
xenodochium
[L. from Gk]  a house of reception for strangers and pilgrims; a hostel, guest-house, esp. in a monastery  (also called xenodochion)
xeric
characterized by or requiring only a small amount of moisture
xertz
to gulp down, swallow quickly and greedily
xi
14th letter of the Greek alphabet
xiphoid
ensiform (sword-shaped)
xylocephalous
[fr. Gk xulo- < xulon, wood + kephale, head]  /zy lo suh FAL us/  (also perh. xylocephalic)
wooden-headed


Y

Yarborough
a totally worthless hand in whist or bridge
yare
lively; maneuverable
yataghan
[Turkish yatagan]  /YA tuh gan/
a Turkish sword or scimitar having a double-curved blade and (often) an eared pommel, but lacking a handle guard
yclept
[past participle of obs. clepe (to name or call)]  /ee KLEPT/  named, called
yclyketed
[olde English]   /ee KLEE ted/?  latched
yegg
a criminal, esp a safecracker or burglar
yentz
[Yiddish, from yentzen, to copulate]  to cheat, to swindle (also, to fornicate)  cf. screw
yestreen
Scot.  yesterday evening
yirn
/yurn/  to whine; to pout or show petulance; hence, yirning: whining
ylem
[fr. med.L. hylem, matter]  /I lem/
Cosmology  in the big-bang theory, the primordial matter of the universe, which existed before formation of the elements
yobbo
Brit.  hoodlum
yoctosecond
one septillionth of a second
yogibogeybox
[yogi + bogey + box]  nonce-word in Joyce  the apparatus of a spiritualist
yomp
[Brit., from the Falklands War]  to march with heavy equipment over difficult terrain; to cover a certain distance in this way
yonderly
[fr. yonder]  archaic or Brit. dial.  distant, reserved, sullen; depressed, gloomy, melancholy
yonic
having to do with the vagina (like phallic, only female)
yonks
[perhaps related to donkey's years]  UK informal  a very long time
yonner
Brit slang  a Lancashlre hillbilly
yosenabe
[Jap.]  /YO seh NAHB a/
a soup consisting especially of seafood and vegetables cooked in a broth; a Japanese equivalent of bouillaibaise
yowie
a large, hairy, man-like creature supposedly inhabiting south-eastern Australia


Z

zabernism
obs.  the misuse of military power or authority; bullying, agression
zaddik
a just and virtuous person
zaftig
pleasingly plump
zarf
an ornamental metal holder for a handleless coffee cup
zed
chiefly Brit.  the letter z
zeitgeist
the general intellectual, moral and cultural climate of an era
zemblanity
[fr. Zembla, an Artic island to the N. of Russia once used for nuclear testing]
the inexorable discovery of what we don't want to know (contrast serendipity)
zenzizenzizenzic
the eighth power of a number
zeptosecond
one sextillionth of a second
zerk
[fr. Oscar U. Zerk, American inventor]  a grease fitting
zetetic
[fr. Gk zetetikos: inquisitive, keen]  /zuh TET ik/
1) proceeding by inquiry  2) skeptic
zetetically
skeptically
zhoosh
[fr. Romani cant]  UK (gay) slang  to tweak, finesse or improve something (for example, one's hair)
zoanthropy
the delusion that one is an animal
zob
a weak or contemptible person; a fool
zoetic
[fr. Gk zoe, life + -etic]  pertaining to life: living, vital
zoilism
[after Zoilos (Zoilus in L.), Homer's witty, shrewd, and spiteful grammarian]  carping criticism; detraction
Zoilist
[after Zoilus, Gk critic famous for criticism of Homer]  a carping critic
zomotherapy
the treatment of disease with a diet of raw meat
zoosemiotics
[fr. Gk zoi-, animal + semiotics, the study of signs and symbols]  /ZO uh sem ee OT ics/
the scientific study of signaling behavior in and across animal species
zucchetto
[It.]  R.C. Church  (also zuchetta, -etto)
the skullcap of an ecclesiastic; the pope's is white, a cardinal's red, a bishop's purple, a priest's black
zugzwang
[G.] in chess, when all possible moves weaken the position
zumbooruk
[ad. Hindustani zamburaka]  a small cannon fired from the back of a camel
zumologist
[fr. Gk zume, to ferment + -ologist]
"One who is skilled in the fermentation of liquors." - Webster's, 1828
zwischenzug
[G.] in chess, a temporizing move (i.e., a delay in capturing, usually via a check)
zymologist
[see zumologist]  one skilled in the science of fermentation
zymology
a science that deals with fermentation
zymurgy
the branch of applied chemistry dealing with fermentation processes
zythum
[fr. Gk zuthos, beer]  /ZAI thum/
in ancient Egypt: a kind of malt beer
(much of the word's continuing use is due to its status as the last word listed in several dictionaries, as in the online OED)
zyxt
[fr. Kentish zi, ze  to see]  obs. Kentish  thou seest  (also zixt, zist)
zyzzogeton
a genus of large South American leafhoppers  (the last word in W3)
zzxjoanw
/ziks-JO-an/
non-word  a Maori drum  {Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary}
The Music-Lovers Encyclopedia by Rupert Hughes (all editions from 1914 to 1956) has this entry: "zzxjoanw (shaw) Maori. 1. Drum. 2. Fife. 3. Conclusion."  According to Philip Cohen in Word Ways (Nov. 1976), there are several problems with this entry, notably the fact that it's an impossible Maori word, both in spelling and pronunciation. Cohen suspects that Hughes made up the word as a joke. In his book, Earth, David Brin has a Maori character playing a zzxjoanw. Asked about this, Brin said that he'd gotten the word from Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary.

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