Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

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Amoeba
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Amoeba » Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:08 pm UTC

And the song itself is ironic...
Jesus Christ you have confused me

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Quincunx » Sun May 03, 2009 11:03 am UTC

There is a word -or rather a phrase- for the final thing that causes a disaster; "the last straw". But we often need to specify "the last x BEFORE y happens". The last point that can be removed from a circle before a hole appears, the last atom of plutonium before critical mass is reached, the last angel that can dance on the point of a pin before they all trip over. All I can find is 'clochandichter', usually defined as 'the last stone that can be added to a pile of stones before the lot collapse'. And I can't find the source from which, some 20 years ago, I made a note on it. Not, I think yet in any dictionary.

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Joeldi » Sun May 03, 2009 1:10 pm UTC

Breaking point? Critical _____.

The ______ that broke the camel's molecule/pin/circle. <--I would say this sort of thing, but I don't know how this sits with the general community
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Suffusion of Yellow » Sun May 03, 2009 3:24 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
Hayden wrote:My English teacher for year ten (tenth grade) marked me down in an assessment paper for using the word "fantastical". I defended myself, claiming it was indeed a word. It much bothered me that she: for one; did not recognise it as a word, and two; I knew that I had heard or read that word used before in that exact English class. I never remembered where I had heard it or thought to look it up until it was too late and I had left the school. I had heard and read it in Macbeth, the play that almost half our entire school year was based upon. I'm going to find her one day, and tell how very wrong she was.


One time my year-ten English teacher told the class 'scape-goat' meant someone who got away with everything. I timidly raised my hand and said 'doesn't it mean the opposite?' 'no' 'I thought it meant..' 'shut up, Justin!'

Then she looked it up and well, me: 1, teacher: 0. She got me back, though. Wasn't pretty. Moral: the teacher is always correct, even when she's a flipping flip.


I had to convince my year-twelve English teacher "tripe" was a word. And in retrospect, yeah, wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done. But hey :D

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Luthen » Mon May 04, 2009 12:55 am UTC

Antihero wrote:Also is there a word for a consequence that was directly (but unintentionally) caused by trying to prevent the consequence (say, attempting to grab a gun from a toddler only to accidentally pull the trigger in the process)?
In an older sense of the word that would be a tragedy (think Oedipus), but doesn't really apply any more.
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby deathpangsofsorrow » Mon May 04, 2009 2:22 am UTC

But we often need to specify "the last x BEFORE y happens".


This isn't exactly the answer you're probably looking for (I take it you want a noun?), but "penultimate" and "antepenultimate" are related to what you're talking about and might point someone more knowledgeable in the right direction.

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby dalahäst » Mon May 04, 2009 3:35 am UTC

Bobber wrote:A half-truth?

On a related note, I hate it when people go "It sucks that there isn't a word for "the back of the neck"" since "neck" MEANS (in the sense that it used to mean it before people changed it) "the back of the neck", i.e. the part between your back and the back of your head. The word for the front part between your chest and chin is your "hals", and this word was fairly common in Middle English until they borrowed "hnakkr" from Old Norse and changed it to "hnecca" and through further mutations "neck".
Cognates of "hals" and "neck" are found throughout Germanic languages (German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian) and in these languages they mean front- and back of the neck, respectively.

I think that it's weird.


There's also "nape".

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby hocl » Mon May 04, 2009 5:14 am UTC

Velifer wrote:I need a word for when I'm asked a professional opinion about a technical matter, but am expected to give a bullshit answer to fit someone's political agenda. It's becoming synonymous with my job title.
Pandering?


natraj wrote:
Amoeba wrote:I'll start: I am convinced there is a word meaning 'a plausible lie', but I can't find at all. Any ideas?


I'm not sure, but sophistry/sophism has that feeling to me, in that it is generally a lie that sounds reasonable enough to convince people, though it is intended to deceive.
"Sophistry" isn't exactly a lie. A lie is a misstatement of fact; sophistry is a misstatement of logic. Sophistry can be used in support of a lie, but is not itself a lie (except insofar as one is implicitly claiming that one believes that one believes the argument).

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby mastered » Fri May 08, 2009 12:25 am UTC

What about 'plausible deniability'?

csam wrote:
Fuzzypickles wrote:
Antihero wrote:Also is there a word for a consequence that was directly (but unintentionally) caused by trying to prevent the consequence (say, attempting to grab a gun from a toddler only to accidentally pull the trigger in the process)?

I'd use ironic for this, personally.

Damn you, Alanis Morrissette, for ruining the word ironic! Not that your usage is wrong, but the word "ironic" is a pet peeve of mine, so I just wanted to draw attention to this:
The American Heritage Dictionary says:
"Usage Note: The words ironic, irony, and ironically are sometimes used of events and circumstances that might better be described as simply "coincidental" or "improbable," in that they suggest no particular lessons about human vanity or folly. Thus 78 percent of the Usage Panel rejects the use of ironically in the sentence "In 1969 Susie moved from Ithaca to California where she met her husband-to-be, who, ironically, also came from upstate New York." Some Panelists noted that this particular usage might be acceptable if Susie had in fact moved to California in order to find a husband, in which case the story could be taken as exemplifying the folly of supposing that we can know what fate has in store for us. By contrast, 73 percent accepted the sentence "Ironically, even as the government was fulminating against American policy, American jeans and videocassettes were the hottest items in the stalls of the market", where the incongruity can be seen as an example of human inconsistency."

I personally would call the sentence tragic, but more general words to use would be unintended, inadvertent, unwitting, or, the old favorite, accident.


Technically, in the example given above, 'coincidentally' would be more appropriate, but in the original question ironic would be correct.
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby aurumelectrum13 » Thu May 21, 2009 2:46 am UTC

"Usage Note: The words ironic, irony, and ironically are sometimes used of events and circumstances that might better be described as simply "coincidental" or "improbable," in that they suggest no particular lessons about human vanity or folly.

That's not really what irony means. Irony means that what has occured and what was expected to occur are different.

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Threb » Thu May 21, 2009 3:08 am UTC

csam wrote:Damn you, Alanis Morrissette, for ruining the word ironic!


The song is ironic, though, if you think about it.

It's a song titled "Ironic," with lyrics that contain no irony.

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby gmalivuk » Thu May 21, 2009 3:35 am UTC

aurumelectrum13 wrote:That's not really what irony means.

If that's how "irony" is used, then that's (one definition of) what it means.
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby drego642 » Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:05 pm UTC

I remember reading about a word a while ago on this very forum. It meant something like 'the cold side of the pillow' or 'flipping it over to get to the cold side'. I think it started with an 'a'.

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby jaap » Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:25 am UTC

drego642 wrote:I remember reading about a word a while ago on this very forum. It meant something like 'the cold side of the pillow' or 'flipping it over to get to the cold side'. I think it started with an 'a'.


From the book The meaning of Liff, Abilene is the word Douglas Adams chose to give this meaning. Like all the words in this book, it is really the name of a town or village.

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Kow » Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:19 pm UTC

Emperor Max wrote:There must be a word for a surface where you temporarily put things while not using them. Like a table in your garage where you put your tools and parts you don't use for the moment while working with other things on the car.

Please tell me I am just stupid, and that there is a word! It have been nagging me for some time now. :?

The word "cache" comes to mind. It's the term I'd use...
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby InkL0sed » Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:31 am UTC

Sockmonkey wrote:Is there a word for dying of thirst that could be used to complete the sentence "Without water we will all..?"


Dehydrate?

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Agent_Irons » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

InkL0sed wrote:
Sockmonkey wrote:Is there a word for dying of thirst that could be used to complete the sentence "Without water we will all..?"


Dehydrate?
Parched?

For future reference the word for the smell you get after rain is petrichor. :D

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Sockmonkey » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:00 am UTC

Hmm, both of those refer to a general anhydrous condition but not specifically one leading to death.

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Bobber » Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:38 pm UTC

Agent_Irons wrote:
InkL0sed wrote:
Sockmonkey wrote:Is there a word for dying of thirst that could be used to complete the sentence "Without water we will all..?"


Dehydrate?
Parched?
Without water we will all parch? Nah.

Agent_Irons wrote:For future reference the word for the smell you get after rain is petrichor. :D
Yeeeah we know by now. (You're like the tenth person to note this - I know it's annoying to read through this huge threadm but there's at least the search function ;))

For the dehydrate/parch thing, I suggest looking into the actual cause of death. Without water we will all hypernatremiate!
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby ThePurpleSmurf » Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:28 pm UTC

There's a word that's been bothering me for some time. Every time I'm walking around and not thinking about anything specific, I think "He was a ______ for the god." It's not conduit, but it's something like that, and it's not avatar. Can anyone help me? It's driving my insane.
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Terebrant » Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:48 pm UTC

Could it be "vessel" ?

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Sockmonkey » Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:30 pm UTC

Manifestation? Channel? Prophet?

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Sizik » Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:22 am UTC

Chosen?
she/they
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Bobber » Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:44 pm UTC

Speaker?
I don't twist the truth, I just make it complex.
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby ThePurpleSmurf » Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:03 pm UTC

Sadly, I don't think it's any of those. It's possible this word doesn't exist, and my brain is just messing with me because it likes to see me squirm. My brain is evil. Thanks for trying, though.
There is no method to my madness.

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Dezign » Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:17 pm UTC

Pontifex means bridge-maker. It's suggestive of bridging the gods with the Earth, or whatever that was the high priest was supposed to be doing. See also pontus, or bridge, though it's not melodic enough to fit in the thought ThePurpleSmurf listed.

If you smear a schmear of imagionnaise on the blank there, other things that fit the gap could, conceivably, be: incarnation, instantiation, voice, hand, eye, mouth... Beyond here it's all burning cheese.

I personally like celebrant because it sounds cool and I don't care about its historical use.

Oops. But applicable to yesterpage's discussion.
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Dying of thirst: Xerify! No, wait, that's actually a better word for simply drying out. Droust?
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby bigglesworth » Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:23 pm UTC

Amoeba wrote:
natraj wrote:
Amoeba wrote:I'll start: I am convinced there is a word meaning 'a plausible lie', but I can't find at all. Any ideas?
I'm not sure, but sophistry/sophism has that feeling to me, in that it is generally a lie that sounds reasonable enough to convince people, though it is intended to deceive.
Thaaat's the one. Thanks!
There's also specious.

A plausible lie is a specious claim, or a specious fact. Anything specious is plausible but untrue.
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Agent_Irons » Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:47 pm UTC

Bobber wrote:
Agent_Irons wrote:For future reference the word for the smell you get after rain is petrichor. :D
Yeeeah we know by now. (You're like the tenth person to note this - I know it's annoying to read through this huge threadm but there's at least the search function ;))

I am so confused right now. This thread is two pages long, and does not contain petrichor. There are other threads that do, though. Did you mean those? Doesn't matter anyway.

I don't think there's a word for the water thing. English isn't necessarily symmetric like that. :?

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby drego642 » Sat Jun 13, 2009 12:21 pm UTC

jaap wrote:
drego642 wrote:I remember reading about a word a while ago on this very forum. It meant something like 'the cold side of the pillow' or 'flipping it over to get to the cold side'. I think it started with an 'a'.


From the book The meaning of Liff, Abilene is the word Douglas Adams chose to give this meaning. Like all the words in this book, it is really the name of a town or village.

Oh, okay. Thanks.

Anyway, I just stumbled upon this awesome site: http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/unuwords.htm

Some of the more ridiculous words:

Sabrage: The act of opening a bottle with a sabre
Preantepenultimate: Fourth from last
Mytacism: The incorrect or excessive use of the letter 'M'
Jumentous: Smelling like hourse urine
Abacinate: To blind by putting a hot copper basin near someone's eye
And of course, the oddly appropriate, floccinaucinihilipilification: The categorising of something that is useless or trivial

But the first place winner - Vigesimation: The act of killing every twentieth person

There is also a word for this very thread - Lethologica: The inability to recall a precise word for something

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Ended » Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:17 pm UTC

drego642 wrote: Vigesimation: The act of killing every twentieth person

Interesting. I wonder why this remains entirely obscure but 'decimation' (killing every tenth person) has passed into common usage. Maybe vigesimation was a much more uncommon punishment.
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Bobber » Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:07 pm UTC

Agent_Irons wrote:
Bobber wrote:
Agent_Irons wrote:For future reference the word for the smell you get after rain is petrichor. :D
Yeeeah we know by now. (You're like the tenth person to note this - I know it's annoying to read through this huge threadm but there's at least the search function ;))

I am so confused right now. This thread is two pages long, and does not contain petrichor. There are other threads that do, though. Did you mean those? Doesn't matter anyway.
Yeah sorry man, I owe you an apology. The word has been mentioned in several threads by now, so I managed to have them blend together in my head.
I don't twist the truth, I just make it complex.
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby tiedyeina » Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:14 pm UTC

Continuing the tales of woe...I got marked down in a paper once for using the less common meaning of 'saw'

Back on topic however, I was always sure that vagarities was a word. I cried when I saw the linked article :(

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby goofy » Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:25 pm UTC

Perhaps an American-specific pronunciation's back-spelling, but not found in real dictionaries.
Vagarity is listed on page 1894, column one of the unabridged Websters New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language published 1957.


So is it found in "real dictionaries" or not? I'm confused?

Anyway, it is in the OED:

Capricious irregularity or variability.

1886 N. & Q. 7th Ser. II. 89/1 Instances of vagarity are noticeable with each Prince of Wales, many of whom seem to have ignored..the title [of Duke of Cornwall].

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Agent_Irons » Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:38 pm UTC

Ended wrote:
drego642 wrote: Vigesimation: The act of killing every twentieth person

Interesting. I wonder why this remains entirely obscure but 'decimation' (killing every tenth person) has passed into common usage. Maybe vigesimation was a much more uncommon punishment.

I think the Romans were big on decimation. It's also shorter and catchier?

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby goofy » Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:52 pm UTC

vīcēsimātio: a drawing by lot of every twentieth man for execution, vicesimation

What's interesting about decimate is:

The only sense that's ever been common in English is the figurative 'to destroy a great number, proportion, or part of', first found in the mid seventeenth century. Despite repeated claims that this sense is erroneous, on the grounds that decimate should only refer to a destruction of one-tenth, that is how the word is used. In fact, it seems to be the only way the word is used; despite the insistence of various usage critics, a real example of decimate meaning 'to destroy one-tenth of' has never to my knowledge been found in actual running text.

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby eekmeep » Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:55 am UTC

tiedyeina wrote:Continuing the tales of woe...I got marked down in a paper once for using the less common meaning of 'saw'



?? What is the less common meaning?

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Bobber » Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:13 pm UTC

eekmeep wrote:
tiedyeina wrote:Continuing the tales of woe...I got marked down in a paper once for using the less common meaning of 'saw'



?? What is the less common meaning?
I was wondering if it may be to use a saw (the tool) upon something, but I can't see how a teacher could have marked them down unless they used it in an obviously misleading or confusing way (even if it was meant as a pun or sarcastically).
I don't twist the truth, I just make it complex.
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Sizik » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:26 am UTC

Bobber wrote:
eekmeep wrote:
tiedyeina wrote:Continuing the tales of woe...I got marked down in a paper once for using the less common meaning of 'saw'



?? What is the less common meaning?
I was wondering if it may be to use a saw (the tool) upon something, but I can't see how a teacher could have marked them down unless they used it in an obviously misleading or confusing way (even if it was meant as a pun or sarcastically).

It can also be something like a proverb.
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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Karantalsis » Thu Jun 18, 2009 2:29 pm UTC

Sizik wrote:
Bobber wrote:
eekmeep wrote:
tiedyeina wrote:Continuing the tales of woe...I got marked down in a paper once for using the less common meaning of 'saw'



?? What is the less common meaning?
I was wondering if it may be to use a saw (the tool) upon something, but I can't see how a teacher could have marked them down unless they used it in an obviously misleading or confusing way (even if it was meant as a pun or sarcastically).

It can also be something like a proverb.


That would be an old saw, rather than a saw. It doesn't work without the world old, because its 15th century english and saw would just be something someone said. Old means wise in this context so "old saw"=wise saying. At least I think thats right.

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Re: Words that you are sure exist, but can't find

Postby Liluminaïlekataribalaminacai » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:34 am UTC

I'm sure there's a word for this in some language, maybe just not English: There needs to be a word for mud, but mud comprised of water and sand rather than water and dirt. (And I don't really mean clay or adobe.) Suggestions?


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