mizzle · /ˈmɪz(ə)l/ · /miz-əl/. noun or verb. A fine rain or drizzle. To disappear suddenly, to vanish. To whine or whimper. The weather-related forms are from Middle English misellen (to drizzle), possibly from, but at least related to, Middle Dutch misel (fog, dew) and Dutch dialect miezelen (to rain gently). Origin of the others is unclear.[Read more…]
meretricious · /ˌmɛrɪˈtrɪʃəs/ · /MAIR-ih-TRISH-əs/. adjective and noun. Of, related to, or befitting a prostitute. Gaudy, flashy, superficially attractive. Insincere. Etymonline notes the lovely, early definition, “pertaining to harlots.” ¶ From merētrix (prostitute), from merēre (to earn money). From the PIE root (s)mer- (to get a share of something), from which we also derive words such as demerit, polymer, and turmeric. ¶ I just like it because it’s one of those words that seems it should mean its opposite. Is there a word for that?[Read more…]
monophobia · /mah-nuh-FOE-bee-uh/ · /mɒnəʊˈfəʊbɪə/. noun. A severe, even morbid fear of being alone. Also, a generic term for a single, simple or specific phobia. From Greek mono- (alone, single, sole, only) + -phobia (a fear of, or aversion to, something). See also: eremophobia, isolophobia.[Read more…]
marathon /MAIR-ə-thon/. noun. A foot race of 26 miles, 385 yards. Abstractly, a difficult, arduous task.
mudlark / mudlarking. noun or verb. Rarely, slang for a hog. Traditionally, a street urchin or scavenger (or the activities of such); now, hobbyists and treasure seekers who search in muddy areas along rivers. Also, a generic name for various birds that like muddy environments, particularly the magpie lark and Australian slang for a racehorse that excels on muddy tracks.
misprision /mis-PRIZH-ən/. noun. Misconduct or neglect of duty by a public official. Rarely, legally, the concealing of—or failing to prevent—treason or a felony committed by someone else. More generally, a mistake. Also a term used by literary critic Harold Bloom to describe strong writers who misread or misinterpret their influences and forebears in order to create a creative space for themselves. From Old French mesprision (error); from Latin prendre (take).
megachiropteran /meg-ə-kər-OPT-ər-ən/. noun or adjective. Of or pertaining to the suborder Megachiroptera, which includes herbivorous fruit bats and flying foxes. Despite the “mega” in the name, this order includes some microbats as small as 2.4 inches long! These bats are distinguished by smooth-crowned molars and a claw on the index finger.
Thanks to Reader S. for suggesting the word and sending a link to the page discussing why this is the best anagram in English (with “cinematographer”) and how it was found(scroll past the tech stuff) and listing some other awesome anagrams. :: Also, the full list of anagrams by score and real soapstone teaspoons.
“Moles and shrews still feed almost exclusively on insects, while various bat species (especially among the Megachiroptera, that other suborder) have attained much larger sizes and diverged into diets of fruit, nectar and pollen, fish, other bats, small birds and rodents, lizards, and blood.” (David Quammen)