When I was in high school and even more insufferable than I am now, a friend and I started a tumblr called “sun words”. The concept of this was to collect words that we discovered that were particularly succulent or mellifluous. 1

I have found myself learning more and more words recently. This is fun and good: I was worried for a while that my days of adapting and playing with the English language were largely behind me. I thought it would be interesting and illustrative to collect a list of the words I’ve learned recently alongside the sources from which I’ve gleaned them. (I expect the majority to be from the NYT crossword, which I recommend you start doing.)

I also publish this list as an RSS feed, if you’d prefer.

word definition source date
cartouche a carved tablet or drawing representing a scroll with rolled-up ends

NYT Crossword, 7/26/2020

2020-07-26
timpani kettledrums, especially when played by one musician in an orchestra

NYT Crossword, 7/26/2020

2020-07-26
coati a type of raccoon with a long snout and a striped tail

NYT Crossword (7/25/2020)

2020-07-25
besserwisser know-it-all, wiseguy, wiseacre, smart aleck

Brendan Schlagel

2020-07-22
olio a miscellaneous collection of things

NYT Crossword

2020-07-22
eunoia beautiful thinking

Brendan Schlagel

2020-07-22
amphigory nonsense verse

Brendan Schlagel

2020-07-22
phrontistery a place for studying

Brendan Schlagel

2020-07-22
enchiridion carried reference book

Brendan Schlagel

2020-07-22
apothegm short, witty aphorism

Brendan Schlagel

2020-07-22
selcouth strange; unfamiliar; marvelous

Brendan Schlagel

2020-07-22
piste a ski run of compacted snow.

Mike Towber

2020-07-21
autochthonous native to the place where found (ant. allochthonous)

Twitter

2020-07-20
polity an organized society; a state as a political entity

Against the Grain

2020-07-20
calf a floating piece of ice detached from an iceberg.

NYT Crossword (7/17/2020)

2020-07-17
  1. Why “sun words”? Because we were high schoolers, and because we learned of the concept of “SAT words” — words that made Flesch-Kincaid salivate — and because _Sun_day comes after _Sat_urday. (I told you — insufferable.) 

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