kipple /KIP-əl/. noun. Useless, multiplying junk, dross, rubbish. A word that seems particularly useful in our age of endless digital detritus and debris. Commonly attributed to speculative fiction author Philip K. Dick as a coinage in his 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, this is probably incorrect. It is likely Dick took it from the title of 60s sci-fi fanzine Kipple, a title one less charitable reader had mockingly re-defined as “useless junk.” And that magazine’s editor had himself appropriated the word from an old joke: “Do you like Kipling? I don’t know, I’ve never kippled.” A joke Dick would re-tell in a later novel (Galactic Pot-Healer).[Read more…]
kakistocracy /ka-ki-STAW-krə-see/. noun. Coinage for government by the worst citizens, supposedly the opposite of the aristrocracy (try to avoid the brain-numbing regression of what happens when the aristocracy is the kakistocracy). From Greek kakistos (superlative of kakos, bad) + English -cracy (government, rule). See also the likely related cack (to discharge excrement, to vomit). See also khakistocracy, a portmanteau referring to military rule of a country in conjunction with that country’s elites.
“…it had spotted the weapon-blink from Ablate, communicating this to its home GSV, the Kakistocrat, which had been cautious enough to pass this on to a select few of its peers including the Pressure Drop rather than broadcast the news.” (Iain M. Banks)
“The OED is full of words for different types of governments. I find most of them forgettable. But kakistocracy, describing so aptly the fear, which seems common in every generation, that their government is truly the worst possible one, is a word worth remembering.” (Ammon Shea)
“Should your agitation succeed it would result in the French Revolution over again, together with all its corollaries,—anarchy, kakistocracy,[Pg 30] a glorious tyranny on a false foundation, kakistocracy again, and chaos: a counter revolution, again a kakistocracy, and finally impotence, false and evil as the destroyed feudalism.” (Ralph Adams Cram)
“Thus, the problem was not whether corruption/power abuse was allowed, but how to keep a balance between uprightness and kakistocracy.” (Gang Deng)
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)