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Words my Kindle taught me

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Showing 1-25 of 71 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 22, 2009 7:42:25 PM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
This is just for fun. :)

I think I can say I have a pretty extensive vocabulary. I read a dictionary cover to cover when I was a kid (not that I've retained it all ;) ).

So, I didn't expect the dictionary to know much that I didn't know. :) Occasionally, though, I do run into something. It's often something obsolete, really specialized, or of foreign derivation.

Here's one from today:


Verst: (noun) a Russian unit of measure, roughly two-thirds of a mile (slightly over a kilometer)


How about you?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2009 8:41:05 PM PDT
Ashley says:
I, too, once read the dictionary as a kid. (I was bored, and it was summer.)

My latest new word is "chiaroscuro". I recognized it from my art history class a few years ago, but couldn't remember what it meant. So I re-learned it, thanks to my Kindle. (I never would have gotten up to get a dictionary if I were reading a DTB.)

Chiaroscuro: (noun) the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting.

Posted on Apr 22, 2009 8:41:18 PM PDT
my k2 (oxford american dictionary) taught me that 'enthalpy' was not a typesetting error.

Posted on Apr 22, 2009 8:49:06 PM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
Anonymer: :)

For those of you wondering, enthalpy is a term from physics that has something to do with the energy of a system, but I don't remember exactly. :)

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 1:28:01 AM PDT
Very cool, Bufo. I was thinking of starting a thread similar to this. This is the most recent one that I found.

Klicks. As in, the city is three klicks from here.

I've mostly read it in SF books and was never sure if it's an actual term or something made up in SF. So when it came up in the SF book I've been reading Isabella (my K2) informed me that it's an informal term for Kilometer. The most interesting part to me was that the origin of the term isn't known, but it started being used during the Viet Nam war.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2009 3:50:28 AM PDT
Jessica says:
klicks is a very common word in europe especially among us personnel.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 4:00:44 AM PDT
ecdysiast (noun): An erotic dancer who removes their clothes as a form of entertainment; a stripper. Coined by H. L. Mencken.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 4:06:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 23, 2009 4:06:51 AM PDT
caiman... it's a type of alligator.

(that was from "Beasts of New York" - a book I got from feedbooks)

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 4:42:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 23, 2009 4:45:40 AM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
That's great, Robin! I did know that one, and am geeky enough to have used it...sometimes to puzzled looks. ;) I just say geeky because people in th US don't seem to expect people to say anything metric.

Just pointing it out, but a verst is a bit more than a click. ;)

Candy, I actually had a personal experience with a human-eating caiman in Brazil. They are one of the families of crocodillans, along with crocodiles, alligators, and gavials. When you used to be able to buy "alligators" out of the back of a comic book, you usually got a caiman.

This is fun! :)

Oh, and KAS, glad to hear it! Did you read Mrs. Byrne's dictionary as well? I thought that was great! Not available for the Kindle, yet, although Amazon does have it in paper.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 8:59:48 AM PDT
Dana says:
Treacly - try and guess what that one means!

Treacle apparently is an old British word for molasses, so when someone describes a person as treacly it means overpoweringly sweet.

Who knew?! I have a pretty decent vocabulary but that was a new one for me!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2009 9:13:00 AM PDT
SteveD says:
"Enthalpy" is the energy tranferred as heat when you ignore how energy is wasted as pressure-volume work. An example is when you heat your house in winter. The air inside expands and has to do "waste work" to escape to the outside. You have to compensate for this lost energy to raise your house to the dsired temeprautre. If your house were hermetically sealed, you could heat it for less. (Sorry. Chemistry teacher and couln't resist ;-)

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 10:14:49 AM PDT
Ann says:
Great Discussion. i have to keep track now. I used to read Dorothy Dunnet's books with the dictionary in hand. Then I'd underline the word and write the definition in the margin. I love the education that comes that way. Kindle could be used that way, but has been too much work since I reread very few books. DD are an exception to that rule.

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 10:51:13 AM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
Dana: yep. :) A similar word is "saccharine". Treacle is one of the topics of discussion at the tea party in Alice in Wonderland. :)

Thanks, SteveD! I only remembered it vaguely, and your explanation is clear. Melvin Calvin was a relative (he was "Uncle Mel" to me, but I think he was my father's cousin), but I never got into chemistry much!

Bet you didn't expect to be explaining enthalpy in this forum. ;)

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 12:00:56 PM PDT
S. Scott says:
I cant even begin to tell you all the words I have learned with the kindle. I read A LOT. And thought I knew a lot of strange, rarely used, words. Boy was I wrong.

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 12:36:14 PM PDT
Lulu says:
Buffo - Are you reading Tolstoy, that you should come upon the word "verst" I seem to remember that word from "Anna Karenina" ;-)

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 1:10:28 PM PDT
I personally loved learning, from the K1 screensaver (where'd this one go, anyway?), that "omphaloscepsis" is the contemplation of one's own navel (as opposed to someone else's, I suppose, which may just go along with "ecdysiast").

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 7:32:17 PM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
Lulu, it's The Brothers Karamazov. :) So, Dostoevsky, but good guess. :)

J.: :)

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 10:13:53 PM PDT
chilloften says:
sorry but this one me offend some
1. smegma- sebaceous secretions in folds of skin.

Posted on Apr 25, 2009 6:35:44 AM PDT
Susanmarie says:
Bufo, I have not read The Brothers Karamazov, I have been told that my favorite quote is from that book. I would love to have it verified by someone who has actually read the book.

The quote is: Beauty will save the world. Who will save beauty?

Can you verify that it is from The Brothers Karamazov? I have been able to find references on the Internet that credit Dostoyevsky with saying "Beauty will save the world." I would like to know if the second sentence, the one that asks who will save beauty, is also there.

Posted on Apr 25, 2009 7:04:36 AM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
I can't verify that, Susanmarie. I haven't finished the book yet. It is pretty quotable, and I searched for "save" and got more than ten pages of references, and "beauty" got me many as well. Didn't find that, though.

I think it might be from The Idiot by Dostoevsky...I'll look around a bit. :)

Posted on Apr 25, 2009 7:08:56 AM PDT
Susanmarie says:
Thank you, Bufo!

Posted on Apr 25, 2009 7:37:43 AM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
Yes, that seems to be the source of the quote. :) Interestingly, it's actually one character quoting another. This seems to be the original:

"The prince says that
beauty saves the world! And I declare that he only has such playful ideas
because he's in love! Gentlemen, the prince is in love. I guessed it the
moment he came in. Don't blush, prince; you make me sorry for you.
What beauty saves the world? Colia told me that you are a zealous
Christian; is it so? Colia says you call yourself a Christian."

It's Hippolyte addressing the prince.

The version you know seems to come from Vladimir Mayakovsky, who was responding to the Dostoevsky line. He was an author, one of a group interested in the modern world. He in turn appears to have been quoted by...counter-culture (?) groups. I don't know, but I think the version you know may not specifically appear in Mayakovsky, but be a distillation made up by someone else later to contrast Dostoevsky and Mayakovsky.

That's just a quick look. :) It may be like "Elementary, my dear Watson" or "Play it again, Sam"...quotations that did not appear in the =original= works, but did appear in derivatives and are widely assumed to be original.

Posted on Apr 26, 2009 2:46:33 AM PDT
My newest:


Articles or dishes of food.

From reading Buried Pyramid

Posted on May 7, 2009 8:45:25 AM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:

Tufa: (noun) a porous limestone


Good Scrabble least for us defensive players. :)

Posted on May 7, 2009 11:12:09 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 8, 2009 11:07:36 AM PDT
Mark Demos says:
#@!#*&*@#! : (adjective) A term used to denote mild aggravation and/or irritation; one not normally used in polite conversation.

As in, "The #@!#*&*@#! USB connection is locked-up on the Kindle again!!!"

And yes, it qualifies, because the K2 "taught" it to me!!
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  45
Total posts:  71
Initial post:  Apr 22, 2009
Latest post:  Aug 12, 2011

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