Etymology

Strange Words from the New Yorker Not Typically Known to Most of Mankind
 
Since words play such an important role in what we do as corporate communicators, the editor-in-chief of this blog asked me to do a periodic posting on this subject, following the initial one I did late last year.
 
As a kid, I always read the Word Power feature in Reader’s Digest, a subscription to which I received from a great uncle. It was the only part of the magazine I read. For PW Insight, I will continue to bring unusual words to your attention from my favorite magazine, The New Yorker.
 
Try your luck at these ten, scrolling down for the answers. Scroll further to see if you can pick out the word that was invented by the mother of late author David Wallace:
 

  1. Maw
  2. Shtarkers
  3. Heterodoxy
  4. Fillip
  5. Greebles
  6. Abstemious
  7. Chockablock
  8. Krait

 
ANSWERS…
 

  1. Symbolic center of a voracious hunger of any kind
  2. Extremely tough guys
  3. Any opinions at variance with the official position
  4. Anything that tends to rouse, excite or revive
  5. Little bits of lint, especially those which feet bring into bed
  6. Characterized by moderation
  7. Extremely full
  8. Any of several large, banded, usually placid but highly venomous snakes

 

…As to the totally fabricated word by David Wallace’s mother—Number 5, greebles.

 

Roger Pondel, Chief Etymologist, PondelWilkinson, Inc., rpondel@pondel.com