Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

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liza
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby liza » Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:43 am UTC

gibberishtwist wrote:Definitely not as good as I thought it would be. Maybe the person who came up with the word didn't like that smell. Also, Firefox doesn't recognize the word. Odd.

I agree, it's a really unmusical word. Firefox doesn't recognize most rare words, and "petrichor" is pretty darn rare.
The etymology's pretty good though; it was definitely coined by people who liked it.
A.Word.A.Day wrote:[From petro- (rock), from Greek petros (stone) + ichor (the fluid that is supposed to flow in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology). Coined by researchers I.J. Bear and R.G. Thomas.]

Aaand more:
midden: a trash heap that indicates human settlement, especially in archaeology.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Felstaff » Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:06 am UTC

Deipnosophist: A skilled orator at the dinner table. A character that uses Wildean, Simpsonian wit such as "...And then I said let's get out of these wet clothes and into a dry Martini" at dinner parties
Cham: To eat with your mouth open
Oneirodynia: A troubling, unsettling dream (not quite a nightmare; more like a realistic dream that conveys a highly-possible negativity, such as failing a big exam or losing a relative)
Oneirism: A hypnotising daydream. When you see a rabbit scramble past with a pocket watch, saying 'I'm late! I'm late!', you're probably having an oneirism.

Thank you, internet! I was looking for a medium between dream and nightmare. Oneirodynia fits in quite neatly.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby ADXCKGuy » Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:01 pm UTC

I like aglet(s). It’s becoming better known, but I think it fits well here in that those who don’t know it end up using long strings of words to convey the concept.

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Felstaff » Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:28 pm UTC

ADXCKGuy wrote:I like aglet(s). It’s becoming better known, but I think it fits well here in that those who don’t know it end up using long strings of words to convey the concept.

Looks like someone's been checking out my signature's link.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby philosophizer » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:05 pm UTC

lethologica- the inability to remember a word, or put your finger on the right word.

I had a great bout of lethologica one day after i learned this word, and couldn't remember it...

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby gibberishtwist » Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:31 am UTC

liza wrote:I agree, it's a really unmusical word. Firefox doesn't recognize most rare words, and "petrichor" is pretty darn rare.
The etymology's pretty good though; it was definitely coined by people who liked it.
A.Word.A.Day wrote:[From petro- (rock), from Greek petros (stone) + ichor (the fluid that is supposed to flow in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology). Coined by researchers I.J. Bear and R.G. Thomas.]


Ha, I guessed the etymology as soon as I read it. My IQ must be going up.

philosophizer wrote:lethologica- the inability to remember a word, or put your finger on the right word.

I had a great bout of lethologica one day after i learned this word, and couldn't remember it...


Quite possibly the most lethologic (?) word imaginable.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Ari » Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:03 am UTC

Outchanter wrote:In the spirit of Terry Pratchett I just googled a word for the smell of the earth after rain. Turns out it's "petrichor".

Somehow I was expecting something better.

Ari wrote:Given the advent of the internet, I would've said English is a bit more likely to converge a bit more than it diverges, (of course, it will do both at once in many different ways) at least for a while, given that until now people in Australia/New Zealand and the UK and the USA didn't have much chance to talk to each other.


Even before the Internet, I suspect TV was having a consolidating effect on English. Possibly more, since while forums encourage mutually intelligible writing, they would have no effect on diverging pronunciation.

Ari wrote:"Get it?"/"Got it?" could be used pretty reliably, although it sounds a bit more hostile than either of the alternatives, it's still two syllables.


There's also "Capiche?" but that seems to have mafia connotations.


Capiche would generally sound funny outside of America, I think. You've got a good point about TV/internet in the UK/Australia/New Zealand, but the internet has actually exposed Americans to the two dialects from the pacific, even if a lot of internet communication is text-based- not to mention TV obsesses far more with North American culture than the internet does.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby shesdeadimalive » Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:09 am UTC

It is so perfect, I couldn't help but join just to post here.

Mamihlapinatapai
From Wikipedia: "a word from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego, listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the "most succinct word", and is considered one of the hardest words to translate. It describes a look shared by two people with each wishing that the other will initiate something that both desire but which neither one wants to start. This could perhaps be translated more succinctly as "eye-contact implying 'after you...'". A more literal approximation is "ending up mutually at a loss as to what to do about each other"."

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby kellsbells » Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:55 am UTC

shesdeadimalive wrote:It is so perfect, I couldn't help but join just to post here.

Mamihlapinatapai
From Wikipedia: "a word from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego, listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the "most succinct word", and is considered one of the hardest words to translate. It describes a look shared by two people with each wishing that the other will initiate something that both desire but which neither one wants to start. This could perhaps be translated more succinctly as "eye-contact implying 'after you...'". A more literal approximation is "ending up mutually at a loss as to what to do about each other"."

If I ever learn how to pronounce that, I will use it every freaking day.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby gibberishtwist » Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:14 pm UTC

kellsbells wrote:
shesdeadimalive wrote:It is so perfect, I couldn't help but join just to post here.

Mamihlapinatapai
From Wikipedia: "a word from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego, listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the "most succinct word", and is considered one of the hardest words to translate. It describes a look shared by two people with each wishing that the other will initiate something that both desire but which neither one wants to start. This could perhaps be translated more succinctly as "eye-contact implying 'after you...'". A more literal approximation is "ending up mutually at a loss as to what to do about each other"."

If I ever learn how to pronounce that, I will use it every freaking day.


Ditto. It's not so hard to read phonetically but who knows if I'm saying it right.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby shesdeadimalive » Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:50 pm UTC

I know.
I'm just having trouble figuring out how to use it in a sentence. I want to so badly...

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Balthazar » Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:48 am UTC

Cornobble (archaic): to hit with a fish.

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby steewi » Mon Jul 07, 2008 1:00 am UTC

shesdeadimalive wrote:I know.
I'm just having trouble figuring out how to use it in a sentence. I want to so badly...

It's a noun, so you could use it kind of like this:
"The washing was just sitting there, waiting to be done, but we were too caught up in our mamihlapinatapai even to notice that someone else had begun it."

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby gibberishtwist » Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:34 am UTC

steewi wrote:
shesdeadimalive wrote:I know.
I'm just having trouble figuring out how to use it in a sentence. I want to so badly...

It's a noun, so you could use it kind of like this:
"The washing was just sitting there, waiting to be done, but we were too caught up in our mamihlapinatapai even to notice that someone else had begun it."


Well that makes it so much easier =(
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Felstaff » Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:07 pm UTC

Mameeya Piñata Pie/Pay

Would be easier to use if you split it into three words like that. I don't know, but I'm presuming it's heavily Spanish-influenced. I'll go ask my native Yaghan-speaking neighbour, Bob Smith.

"Hey, Bob!"
"Yo"
"You speak Yaghan, right?"
"Nup"
"Oh. I thought you said you were born and raised on Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego."
"Nah, I'm just pullin' yer leg"
"Damn you, Bob Smith. I oughta cornobble ye."
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby greeniguana00 » Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:03 pm UTC

I've always found the word "apathy" incredibly useful, although I have known it for a while. I think I have used it along with "apathetic" far more often then I ought to.

liza wrote:
gibberishtwist wrote:[...] Also, Firefox doesn't recognize the word. Odd.

I agree, it's a really unmusical word. Firefox doesn't recognize most rare words, and "petrichor" is pretty darn rare. [...]


I just created a thread based on this :) viewtopic.php?f=25&t=24772
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby coatbutton » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:21 pm UTC

I was really happy when I learned the word "ennui." I think it captures the emotion much better than "the bad feeling you get after or while working on something tedious that you are not interested in."

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Blokey » Fri Jul 11, 2008 2:32 pm UTC

Abilene - the property of coolness that the underside of the pillow entails.

That's right, kids, we've all known this sensation since we we're, what, 6-ish? And now it has a word.


Maybe it's cooler than the other side of the pillow. Maybe it's Abilene.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby gibberishtwist » Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:45 pm UTC

Blokey wrote:Abilene - the property of coolness that the underside of the pillow entails.

That's right, kids, we've all known this sensation since we we're, what, 6-ish? And now it has a word.


Maybe it's cooler than the other side of the pillow. Maybe it's Abilene.


And all my life I've been calling it "the cool side of the pillow." What a goddamned sucker I was. Well no more!
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby liza » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:34 pm UTC

Blokey wrote:Abilene - the property of coolness that the underside of the pillow entails.

That's right, kids, we've all known this sensation since we we're, what, 6-ish? And now it has a word.


Maybe it's cooler than the other side of the pillow. Maybe it's Abilene.

[citation needed]
(Couldn't find anything with a quick google search. Nonce words and recent (colloquial?) coinages should probably come with that caveat.)
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby jaap » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:49 pm UTC

liza wrote:
Blokey wrote:Abilene - the property of coolness that the underside of the pillow entails.

That's right, kids, we've all known this sensation since we we're, what, 6-ish? And now it has a word.


Maybe it's cooler than the other side of the pillow. Maybe it's Abilene.

[citation needed]
(Couldn't find anything with a quick google search. Nonce words and recent (colloquial?) coinages should probably come with that caveat.)


The only citation is the Urban Dictionary and it has very few votes, which means it is likely to have been made up or to be a joke of some sort.

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Blokey » Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:42 pm UTC

Aww, that's dissapointing. I read it somewhere awhile back, and since it sounds like a real word, and has just the right degree of whimsy to it, I will continue to use it regardless. Maybe it'll stick.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby liza » Sat Jul 12, 2008 12:45 am UTC

Gnomon: the shaft of a sundial
Glair: egg white.
Felstaff wrote:
Okita wrote:"What are you up to?"

"Attempting to save the free world and preserve Democracy...without Liza"
But...But [that would] just be announcing you're definitely about to fail.

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Ashbash » Sat Jul 12, 2008 9:41 am UTC

I've always refered to the egg-white as Albumen. (Albumin?)

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby sje46 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:27 am UTC

kellsbells wrote:I always love learning words that perfectly describe a situation or something else that would normally take up several words to (imperfectly) describe. I like efficiency in language, and I would imagine many fora members feel the same.

My example: inserting a word inside of another word (ex: abso-freaking-lutely or any-old-where) is called a "tmesis".

Do you guys have any other great words like this?

I was too lazy to check the other posts, so I don't know if anyone said these.
A tmesis, by the way, is an infix. An interesting fact is that you always put the tmesis before the accented syllable, as my linguistics teacher told us. So if you aren't good at finding the stressed syllable, just put a-freaking-nother word in-freaking-side the troublesome thing.

I like the word penultimate (second to last), but I don't use it, because people don't know what it means.

Miniscus (spelling) is fun. I learned what it was in 6th grade, adn my teacher told us to use the word on our parents. I waited until my mother was driving, and at an intersection I said "There's a miniscus in your cup!" and she almost got in an accident.

Ah, good times . ..
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby ADXCKGuy » Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:45 am UTC

meniscus
I don’t think I was familiar with that definition before looking it up, only the anatomical one, and the cup comment seemed very strange.

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Balthazar » Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:13 pm UTC

From Dictionary.com's encyclopedia:
"Meniscus, plural: menisci, from the Greek for "crescent", is a curve in the surface of a liquid and is produced in response to the surface of the container or another object. It can be either concave or convex."

I assume this is the definition you meant and the (spelling) meant your weren't sure how to spell it. Correct?

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Hurduser » Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:16 pm UTC

Moo wrote:As for English, I really like portmanteau as a concise way to describe a concept that would otherwise need at least one or two sentences and an example. Ditto for onomatopoeia.

For onomatopoeic, German has 'lautmalerisch' (roughly translated as sound-painting)
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby sje46 » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:06 pm UTC

Balthazar wrote:From Dictionary.com's encyclopedia:
"Meniscus, plural: menisci, from the Greek for "crescent", is a curve in the surface of a liquid and is produced in response to the surface of the container or another object. It can be either concave or convex."

I assume this is the definition you meant and the (spelling) meant your weren't sure how to spell it. Correct?

Correct.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Galen » Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:14 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
ZLVT wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
ZLVT wrote:Perhaps "Queen's English" ought to be standardised and distributed and left at that.

What version of the Queen's English do you propose to standardize and distribute?

This one. I'm saying, take it as it is NOW and make it the official language. I'm not saying people will use it, but it should be kept for official purposes, law, government etc. American, Australian, British, Canadian, and New Zealand Englishes are all diverging.

And when they continue diverging, because you cannot stop language change, to the point where our calcified official version of English becomes unintelligible to all but a few specially trained people, what then? As things are now, language change means that in a few centuries' time stuff written today will be more difficult to understand. As you want things, a few centuries will mean, in addition, that official documents written in that future time are also more difficult to understand.



Just when I meant to jump in and start bashing the prescriptivist I recalled marking english_petal's signature:

english_petal wrote:Walking along with a friend, I found half a dozen theoretical linguists committing unprovoked physical assault on a defenseless prescriptivist. My friend was shocked, "Aren't you going to help?"
I said, "No; six should be enough."


Thus I abstained. Good luck ZLVT.

On topic now, while I was explaining this Descriptivist v. Prescriptivist situation to a friend I called the people who frequent these xkcd fora, "forasters".
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby plumlinden » Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:27 am UTC

Wow. This is a really great thread.
I rather like "antepenultimate" to third last in a series.
I also really liked that Russian word. :)

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby sje46 » Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:39 am UTC

plumlinden wrote:Wow. This is a really great thread.
I rather like "antepenultimate" to third last in a series.
I also really liked that Russian word. :)

Oh, antepenultimate! Why didn't I remember that? Antpenultimate is awesome.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Delbin » Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:11 am UTC

Minutiae is one of my favorite. Misc. small things.

I think all of you will like the book 'The Meaning of Liff' by Douglas Adams (et. al.) I found it once electronically, but I can't search for it since I'm at work. It's a collection of definitions made up by him and his bar buddies for words that should exist because they describe things everyone experiences. Offhand I remember a word for someone that washes all the dishes but the pan with the bacon grease and the word for the feeling you get when you sit on a chair warmed by someone else.

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Eugo » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:45 am UTC

sje46 wrote:Oh, antepenultimate! Why didn't I remember that? Antpenultimate is awesome.


See my list at http://www.ndragan.com/langsr/bez_teksta.html - it's not in English, except the descriptions of what the words on the left mean.

Not on that list, but on another (words which have some way to be expressed by not too complicated an expression), are "the day before yesterday", "the day before the day before yesterday", and the two symmetrical words for two and three days into the future.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Galen » Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:16 pm UTC

Delbin wrote:Minutiae is one of my favorite. Misc. small things.

I think all of you will like the book 'The Meaning of Liff' by Douglas Adams (et. al.) I found it once electronically, but I can't search for it since I'm at work. It's a collection of definitions made up by him and his bar buddies for words that should exist because they describe things everyone experiences. Offhand I remember a word for someone that washes all the dishes but the pan with the bacon grease and the word for the feeling you get when you sit on a chair warmed by someone else.


Found it: http://folk.uio.no/alied/TMoL.html



jaap wrote:
liza wrote:
Blokey wrote:Abilene - the property of coolness that the underside of the pillow entails.

That's right, kids, we've all known this sensation since we we're, what, 6-ish? And now it has a word.


Maybe it's cooler than the other side of the pillow. Maybe it's Abilene.

[citation needed]
(Couldn't find anything with a quick google search. Nonce words and recent (colloquial?) coinages should probably come with that caveat.)


The only citation is the Urban Dictionary and it has very few votes, which means it is likely to have been made up or to be a joke of some sort.


And here we also have our source for the aforementioned "abilene": http://folk.uio.no/alied/TMoL.html#anchorA

PS Sorry for the ugly links. I don't know how to use this BB yet.
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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby plumlinden » Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:10 pm UTC

One of my teachers found that online copy and printed the entire thing off, placed it in a duo-tang and gave it me.
Also, when I first encountered meniscus in chemistry class, I was very happy. I find science classes perfect sources for words such as these.

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby Helicase » Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:20 pm UTC

kellsbells wrote:Oh, I remembered another one! I had to spell it in a spelling bee a few months ago- "preprandial" is relating to the time before dinner. Your doctor can recommend you take a preprandial dose of medicine.


Likewise, "postprandial" is "after dinner." I had been reading this word in an Edward Gorey limerick and I had not known its meaning until now:

"To his clubfooted child said Lord Stipple
As he poured his post-prandial tipple
'Your mother's behavior gave pain to our Savior
And that's why He made you a cripple.'"

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby enk » Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:24 am UTC

Ah, meniscus... Reminds me of an episode of Museum of Techno, wherein the technicians drink their beloved sherry with a convex meniscus.
phlip wrote:Ha HA! Recycled emacs jokes.

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby kellsbells » Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:12 am UTC

Thank you so much for the Meaning of Liff link. My current favorite:

FROLESWORTH (n.)
Measure. The minimum time it is necessary to spend frowning in deep concentration at each picture in an art gallery in order that everyone else doesn't think you've a complete moron.
A good pun is its own reword.
L wrote:A day without kells is a day not worth living.

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Re: Words You Didn't Know That Describe Things Perfectly

Postby plumlinden » Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:43 am UTC

Ah! I just remembered "akimbo", for someone who is standing with their hands on their hips. It was the best part of To Kill A Mockingbird.


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