hebetude /HEB-ə-tood/. noun. A state of torpor, dullness, lethargy or languor. From Latin hebes (blunt, dull).
A cornucopia—a logocopia!—of awesome words.
ondinnonk. noun. An Iroquoian word for the soul’s deepest desires as expressed in dreams; special dreams. Or, as quoted by multiple sources but without attribution, “the innermost desires of someones’ soul and its angelic nature.”
“To extirpate these repressive desires, or to communicate the supernatural interpretation of an omen, the Iroquois relied on a host of rituals that sought to alleviate what they called Ondinnonk, the secret desire of the subconscious or the soul revealed in a dream.” (Edna Kenton)
“The Iroquois believed that the soul revealed hidden desires through dreams; these desires were referred to as Ondinnonk. If the Ondinnonk was not satisﬁed the soul would take revenge on the physical body through illness or death.” (Art Rogers)
“The yearly festival of this traveling dream theater was known as the Onoharoia; it allowed many Ondinnonk (special dreams) to be acted out very dramatically.” (Denise Linn)
blatherskite. /BLA-thər-skiyt/noun. A noisy person who talks foolish nonsense, who blathers with braggadocio. The speech of said blatherer. Originally a Scottish insult, it became a common term of colloquial speech during the American Revolution due to the then-popular Scottish song “Maggie Lauder.” Alt: bletherskate, blether skyte.
“Right dauntingly she answered him,
“Begone ye hallanshaker.
Jog on your gate ye blether skyte,
my name is Maggie Lauder”
“the result was just nothing but wind. She never had any ideas, any more than a fog has. She was a perfect blatherskite; I mean for jaw, jaw, jaw, talk, talk, talk, jabber, jabber, jabber…” (Mark Twain)
“Those foolish tales which I used to read in my youth […] what are they but the blatherskite of long-tongued persons who could talk faster than they could think?” (John Runciman)
“And naught I ken who the bowdykite’s to wed—
Some bletherskite he’s picked up in a ditch,
Some fond fligary flirtigig, clarty-fine,
Who’ll turn a slattern-shrew and a cap-river
Within a week”
lallation /lə-LAY-shən/. noun. Baby talk; gibberish. Also, confusion of the R sound with the L sound (AKA lambdacism).
“Disorders of articulation include lisping, lallation, substitution of sounds, omission of sounds, and addition and distortion of sounds.” (S. S. Chauhan)
“Lallation is sound separated from meaning, but nonetheless, as we know, not separated from the infant’s state of satisfaction.” (Colette Soler)
“Lallation it’s called, the difficulty Asians have in pronouncing ‘L’ and ‘R’ in English. For years it prompted adolescent jokes about ‘flied lice’ and ‘I went to U.C.R.A.’ The wisecracks have waned as Japan has given America lessons in quality and industry. No one is heard to mock the Honda Acula or the Sony Warkman.” (New York Times)
kenspeck(le) /KEN-spek(-əl)/. adjective. Of remarkable appearance; easily recognizable, distinctive, conspicuous. Interestingly, the origin isn’t related to that of the word conspicuous, as one might expect, but instead derives from the Old Norse kennispeki, meaning the faculty of recognition (see also: Norwegian kjennespak and Swedish känspak, quick at recognizing persons or things).
“As kenspeck as a cock on a church broach.” (F.K. Robinson)
“The immediate front of a battle is a bit too public for any one to lie hidden in by day, especially when two or three feet of snow make everything kenspeckle.” (John Buchan)
“I grant ye, his face is kenspeckle,
That the white o’ his e’e is turn’d out,
That his black beard is rough as a heckle,
That his mou’ to his lug ‘s rax’d about” (James Nicol)
syzygy /SIZ-i-jee/. noun. The conjunction or opposition of two astronomical bodies, particularly involving the Sun, so usually the Sun and the moon (new moon and full moon). A pair of connected or correlative things. The combination of two feet in one meter, such as iamb (du-DUM), trochee (DUM-du), and spondee (DUM-DUM). In biology, the conjunction of two organisms without either losing their identity. Also, a mathematical concept I can’t really understand, much less explain plainly. From the Greek syzygia: a pair of yoked animals, a union of two.