Tag Archives: word of the day

Sith – Friday’s Word of the Day

May the Fourth be with You! Friday’s Word of the Day at Dictionary.com is sith, and if you’re a nerd it means something entirely different to you that its archaic (dictionary’s word, not mine) definition. It’s an adverb that means “since”. Dictionary says sith (obsolete), originated before 950; Middle English; Old English siththa, dialectal variant of siththan, orig., sīth thām after that, subsequently to that, equivalent to sīth subsequently (akin to Gothic seithus, Old Norse sīth- late, German seit since) + thām, dative of demonstrative pronoun, i.e., “to that”; compare Old Norse sīthan sith.

But the word in today’s vocabulary has gained popularity as a reference to dark forces from the Star Wars sagas. Wikipedia gives a good background for the modern word sith, implying that the word originated in 1976, which lends additional credence to the “obsolete” nature of the original word that is said to have fallen from usage in the 16th Century.

For those of you who are not Star Wars enthusiasts, here is a snippet from Wikipedia: The Sith originated in a species of Force-sensitive warriors who discovered the efficacy of passion as a tool to draw on the Force approximately 6,000 years prior to the events of the first Star Wars film. Fully embracing this approach, they became defined and corrupted by it.

The Sith are major antagonists in the space opera franchise Star Wars. They are depicted as an ancient monastic and kraterocratic organization of supernaturally gifted warriors driven by an agenda of galactic domination and revenge against their predecessors, the Jedi.

Darth Sidious

There are several theories regarding how George Lucas came to call this evil side of the force, the Sith. Some believe it is a combination of names Darth and Sidious, for the Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious. Scheming, powerful, and evil to the core, Darth Sidious restored the Sith and destroyed the Jedi Order. Others believe it was chosen for its snakelike sound, Siithththth. But it is clear that no reference was ever made to the original word sith.

On that note, back to our word of the day and its former use. Here are a few examples:

They said it was a great matter, sith I had risked mine own life.” Emily Sarah Holt, Clare Avery

“Sith Alwyn vails of himself, it is thine, by might and by right.” Edward Bulwer-Lytton, The Last Of The Barons, Complete

“Why, I reckon it cannot be over nine days sith thine were writ.” Emily Sarah Holt, Joyce Morrell’s Harvest

“Here’s twentye groates of white moneye, Sith thou will have it of mee.” Various Authors, A Book of Ballads, Volume 3

So there you have it. Sith, an obsolete, resurrected word that is now the stuff of legends. “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” A sith once meant since, and is now the name for dark forces that resulted from a passion for power run amuck!

I’m afraid today’s Haiku is a jumble. But here it is!

sith it is the fourth
a day we honor the force
not for Sith…Jedi


Treen – Friday’s Word of the Day


Happy Friday! Today’s Word of the Day at Dictionary.com is Treen. I have never heard this word before, but I must say I am a fan of antique treen pieces. Treen is an adjective that means entirely made of wood; small domestic wooden objects, especially antiques, treenware. The word originated in the 11th century. Its original adjective  meanings “made of tree (i.e., wood), wooden;  pertaining to trees or a tree” are obsolete or rare in standard English. Its current usage (20th century) as a noun refers to small articles or utensils made of wood, woodenware.

Wikipedia states that treenware is “distinct from furniture, such as chairs, and cabinetry, as well as clocks and cupboards. Before the 17th century, when silver, pewter, and ceramics were introduced for tableware, most small household items were carved from wood.”

According to the Encylcopedia Brittanica Online, Treen was unique in that it was carved from a single piece of wood. I found a few photos online that illustrate the craftsmanship that went into carving treen. The shoe treens below are actually snuff boxes.

So, if you’re like me and you never knew what treenware was…now you do. Next time I’m antique shopping I will pay particular attention to these treasures. Might have to start a collection of a treen or two. J

a forgotten craft
small hand-carved treenware treasures
for everyday use


Neatnik – Friday’s Word of the Day

Today’s word of the day at dictionary.com is neatnik. Neatnik is a slang word that means a person  who  is extremely  neat about surroundings,  appearance, etc. It originated, according to dictionary.com, in opposition to the word beatnik,defined as a scruffy,  unshaven member of the “beat” generation (coined in 1958). The common element in both words is the suffix -nik. -Nik is a Yiddish term Slavic in origin. Its meaning is similar to the English suffix -er as in doer, thinker, dancer, etc. Its use denotes a person associated with a specified thing or quality.

Words with the suffix -nik gained popularity in the mid to late 1960’s when the Soviet Sputnik, the worlds first man-made satellite, came on the scene. By definition, a sputnik is a person (or thing) who travels with you on a path (put)* – in other words, a traveling companion. During this time there seemed to be no end to the new words (often derogatory in nature) that were coined using this suffix.

Of course there is our word of the day, NEATNIK, and its cousin, BEATNIK. And there were these iterations that you might recognize:

KAPUTNIK/FLOPNIK (1957), failed U.S. satellite attempt;
MUTTNIK (1957), Soviet satellite with dog aboard;
PEACENIK (1963), originally, opponent of the war in Vietnam;
PROTESTNIK (1965), protester against the war in Vietnam;
REFUSENIK (1975), Soviet Jews denied emigration, and also (1983), one who refused to obey orders as a form of protest;
NOSHNIK, one who likes to nosh (Yiddish for ‘eat snacks’);  STRAIGHTNIK, a heterosexual;  FILMNIK; JAZZNIK; FOLKNIK; BACHNIK; FREUDNIK; (definitions self explanatory)
BUSHNIK, admirerers of George Bush;
NOGOODNIK, a no-good person;
KIBBUTZNIK, a person who lives on a kibbutz;
BEARDNIK, a person with a beard;
SICKNIK, a sicko; a person who is perverse or mentally disturbed;
NUDNIK, a person who is very annoying; a persistent nag.

And of things political in Russia:
RASKOLNIK (1723), a dissenter from the national Church in Russia;
CHINOVNIK/TCHINOVNIK (1877), in Tsarist Russia, a government official, a civil servant, especially a minor functionary, a clerk;
NARODNIK (1885), ‘member of the (common) people,’ a supporter of a type of socialism originating amongst the Russian intelligentsia in the late 19th century and which looked on the peasants and intellectuals as revolutionary forces; a Russian populist. In extended use: a person who tries to politicize a community of rural or urban poor while sharing their living conditions; the name by which pre-Marxist Russian socialists are now generally known;
KOLKHOZNIK (1955), a member of a collective farm (a kolkhoz – 1921) in the U.S.S.R.

Here’s a a link to Wikipedia and an exhaustive list of all things -nik. Oh yes, there are more!

Just in the nick of time, 😉 here is a short three line verse (that is not a proper haiku, though it follows the 5-7-5 syllable rule) to put today’s word of the day to rest. What word would you coin using the suffix -nik? It would be a shame to let such a versatile suffix go to waste! 😊

when a neatnik is
the roommate of a beatnik
it’s an odd coupling


Mushyheaded – Friday’s Word of the Day


Today’s word of the day at dictionary.com is “mushyheaded”. You can probably guess it’s meaning: inadequately thought out: mushyheaded ideas; having vague, unsubstantiated, or unrealistic ideas or opinions. Mushyheaded (easily duped, stupid) is an Americanism dating back to the mid 19th century. It’s a portmandeau as well (a combination of two or more words to make one word) mushy-headed. The term mush-headed (a stupid person) was also used in the mid 19th century. For reference, “mush”, another Americanism from the late 17th century, is the name of a dish where cornmeal is boiled in water or milk until thick, eaten as a hot cereal, or molded and fried.

As you know, I like to google these words of the day to see what else I can find. One of the first things that came up was the German translation for the word mushy-headed: schwachköpfig. I love German. Their words are colorful and often so descriptive of the thing they are describing. Schwachköpfig sounds like a word one would say with disdain. The English translation for Schwachköpfig is: dunderheaded, soft-headed, weak-headed, dull-headed, crack-brained, feeble brained, lamebrained. But what I found even more entertaining was the list of German synonyms for the word, schwachköpf: Affe, Armleuchter, Armloch, Blödarsch, Blödian, Blödling, Blödmann, Blödmännchen, Blödsack, Brausebirne, Brot, Brummochse, Butterbirne, Bähschaf, Depp, Doofkopp, Doofmann, Dorfdepp, Dorfhupe, Dorftrottel, Dubbel, Dummbart, Dummbartel, Dummdübel, Dummerchen, Dummerjan, Dummian, Dummkopf, Dummlack, Dummschwätzer, Dumpfbacke, Dussel, Dusseltier, Döskopp, Dümmling, Eimer, Einfaltspinsel, Esel, Feldweg, Flachkopf, Flachpfeiffe, Flitschbirne, Gaskopf, Gehirnakrobat, Gehirnamputierter, Geistesgestörter, Geisteskranker, Grützkopf, Hampel, Hansnarr, Hanswurst, Heckenpenner, Hirnamputierter, Hirni, Hohlkopf, Holzkopf, Honk, Hornochse, Hornvieh, Idiot (Substantiv), Idiotenkind, Irrer, Kalb, Kalbskopf, Kamel, Kamuffel, Kauz, Kindskopf, Kirchenlicht, Kohlkopf, Kretin, Licht, Narr, Nichtskönner, Nichtswisser, Nulpe, Ochse, Pampel, Pfeife, Pfeifenkopf, Pflaume, Pfosten, Pinsel, Psycho, Psychopath, Pörre, Quadratesel, Rindvieh, Ross, Schaf, Schafskopf, Schafsnase, Schmalhirn, Schwachkopf, Schwachmat, Schwachsinniger, Schöps, Simpel, Spacken, Spacko, Spast, Spasti, Spaten, Spatzengehirn, Spatzenhirn, Stiesel, Strohkopf, Stümper, Tolpatsch, Tor, Torfkopp, Trantute, Trantüte, Tropf, Trottel, Tölpel, Verrückter, Vollhonk, Vollidiot, Vollpfosten, Vollspast, Volltrottel, Wahnsinniger, Blödi, Blödian, Blödlackl, Blödmann, Depp (Substantiv), Dummbeutel, Dummerchen, Dummerle, Dummkopf, Dödel, Hirni, Hohlkopf, Idiot, Monk, Pfosten, Schwachkopf, Spaten, Trottel,Depp, Dummkopf, Hohlkopf, Holzkopf, Schwachkopf, Torfkopf (Substantiv), Blödian, Blödmann, Dummerjan, Dummkopf, Dummrian, Dämel, Idiot. Aren’t they positively scrumptious?!

The other reference that floated to the top of Google’s list of things mushyheaded was a link to a site called Mushyhead Comics, an online comic book store developed by two self-described nerdy comic freaks whose aim is to “show other comic nerds the love and appreciation they deserve”. I didn’t realize that comic book nerds were so maligned. The things one can learn by practicing the habit of researching just one word a week! Of course I’m happy to have you along for the ride.

And there may have been a few memes and t-shirt vendors using the term mushyheaded in reference to a certain orange wanna-be dictator…but I’m in too good a mood to go there! 🙂

Have a great weekend! Here’s a haiku for you…:)

sometimes my mind drifts
but i’m not mushyheaded…
they’re calling for snow


Sepulcher – Friday’s Word of the Day


A timely word for today’s dictionary.com word of the day, sepulcher or sepulchre is notably associated with The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, (from Wikipedia) also called the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, or the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, a church within the Christian Quarter of the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It was first built in the second century AD by Roman Emperor Hadrian to honor the goddess, Venus. Notably, it is said to have been built directly over the cave where Jesus is said to have been buried. It wasn’t until the year 325/326 when Constantine ordered that it be torn down and a church erected in its place. Constantine’s mother, Helena is said to have discovered the tomb. A freestanding chapel was erected to House the tomb. Recently the tomb’s housing was renovated, unsettling and revealing was has remained enshrined for centuries.

Dictionary.com explains: Sepulcher comes via French from Latin sepulcrum “grave, tomb,” a derivative of the verb sepelīre “to perform the funeral rites, bury, inter.” The Latin verb comes from the Proto-Indo-European root sep- “to honor,” extended to sep-el- “sorrow, care, awe.” The same root appears in Sanskrit sapati “(he) worships, tends.”The Greek derivative of sep- is the root hep-, which usually occurs in compound verbs, e.g.,amphiépein “to look after, tend to,” as in the last line of the Iliad, “Thus they tended to (amphíepon) the funeral of horse-taming Hector.”Sepulcher entered English in the 13th century.



It is defined as a tomb, grave, or burial place; also called Easter sepulcher. Ecclesiastical (a cavity in a mensa for containing relics of martyrs; a structure or a recess in some old churches in which the Eucharist was deposited with due ceremonies on Good Friday and taken out at Easter in commemoration of Christ’s entombment and Resurrection); to place in a sepulcher; to bury the dead.

My google rambling revealed a few other uses for the word. A ‘whited sepulcher’ is described literally, as a whitewashed tomb, outwardly clean but continuing decaying corpses. One would call someone who is a ‘hypocrite’ a whited sepulcher.

There is also a legal term called “right if sepulcre”. It is a common law doctrine that human remains must be left undisturbed in their place of deposition. There is a gruesome case that invoked ‘right of sepulchre’ as it related to the remains of a young man killed in a car accident. An autopsy was prescribed and the coroner retained the young man’s brain in a jar for further evaluation after releasing the body to his family for burial. The family would have been none the wiser had the boy’s sister not discovered the jar, with her brother’s name prominently displayed, on a shelf, while she and her classmates were on a school field trip to the coroner’s office.

And finally, Marvel Comics introduced a superheroine named Sepulchre in its Quasar series in 1993. Also nicknamed “shadow-woman”, she was the alter ego of Jillian Marie Woods empowered with the ability to manipulate dark forces as a member of the Roxxon Energy Corporation Secret Defenders Shock Troop.


Sepulcher is certainly an ancient word with relevance for this day, especially if you celebrate. Happy Easter Weekend to you if you do!

what secrets linger
in dark ancient sepulchers
for some light and life


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