Word Nerd

Word Nerd Wednesday

Copse (noun)

\ ˈkäps \

Definition of copse

: a thicket, grove, or growth of small trees

— called also coppice

*Source: Merriam-Webster online dictionary

Synonyms for copse

  • boscage (also boskage)
  • bosk (or bosque)
  • bosquet
  • brake
  • brushwood
  • chaparral
  • coppice
  • covert
  • thicket
Word Nerd

Word Nerd Wednesday

Visceral (adjective)

vis·​cer·​al \ ˈvi-sə-rəl / ˈvis-rəl

Definition of visceral

1: felt in or as if in the internal organs of the body : deep // a visceral conviction

2: not intellectual : instinctive, unreasoning // visceral drives

3: dealing with crude or elemental emotions : earthy // a visceral novel

4: of, relating to, or located on or among the viscera: splanchnic // visceral organs

*Source: Merriam-Webster online dictionary

…You hope, and you dream
But you never believe that something is gonna happen to you
Not like it does in the movies
And when it actually does
You expect it to feel different
More visceral
More real
I was waiting for it to hit me
Hit me…

–orbital: Beached
Word Nerd

Word Nerd Wednesday


Ranunculus: one of my most favorite flowers and names for flowers. These lovelies have dozens of paper-thin petals in watercolor tints and shades. Give them to anyone you find attractive or deem ‘radiant with charms.’ Ranunculus is also known as ‘buttercup’ or ‘Coyote eye’ and comes from the Latin meaning ‘little frog.’ Ranunculi are perennial bulb plants and a popular alternative to the rose for wedding and home bouquets. IMHO, they are the quintessential spring flower–and extremely photogenic, too. The best ones I’ve ever laid eyes on were the Japanese ranunculus at the 2017 Philadelphia Flower show, and the (perpetually sold out!) beauties over at Floret Flower Farm. You can also say ranunculuses, but I find that a bit ridiculous.

Some Floret Flower Farm beauties
Word Nerd

Word Nerd Wednesday


Definition of ephemera

1: something of no lasting significance —usually used in plural

2: ephemera plural: paper items (such as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles

Plural: ephemera, also ephemerae

Word origin: New Latin, from Greek ephēmera, neuter plural of ephēmeros

Use it in a sentence: My friend Susan has an impressive collection of interesting ephemera that she uses for her mixed-media collage art.

Notes: I love this dreamy-sounding word; it’s soft, easy to say, and has a soothing rhythm. It feels like a sheer and gauzy material (maybe in a deep blue or purple shade). It has four syllables and sounds like a word you might hear in a Decemberists song, yet it doesn’t seem to put on any airs. I didn’t know until today that ‘ephemera’ isn’t the word’s only plural form, but if I go around saying ‘ephemerae,’ I’ll sound like I’m taking myself too seriously–and life is too ephemeral for such affectation. 😆

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ephemera

Word Nerd

Word Nerd Wednesday

I love words. I guess you could say I’m a logophile. I’ll be listing some of my favorites on this page and talking about why I love them…pretty nerdy stuff. I love languages and the sounds and feels of different ones; each has its own fascinating flavors and colors to savor. One of my ‘should haves’ is that I should have studied languages because I love them and know I have a knack for them, but I think the ‘use it or lose it’ rule kept me from pursuing them as a focus in any serious way. I know a little French, a little Spanish, and a little Hawai’ian. I loved ‘Latin for Vocabulary’ in middle school and think it ended up being the most useful class I had. I like hearing other languages in movies or in public and guessing what they might be. One of my goals for this year is to take a step toward learning German, so I downloaded the Rosetta Stone app. I went through the free half-hour’s worth of lessons and loved it, so it passed the joy check. Why German? I think it boils down to my genetic heritage–my maiden name is Mann–and the fact that speaking German sounds a bit mean and speaking it for me could mean that people might take this somewhat soft-spoken introvert a little more seriously.

Then I saw a friend-of-a-friend do a talk in Philly–lexicographer Kory Stamper, author of Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries. Loved it, she is brilliant! She answered a few audience questions after, and someone asked if there were any words in other languages whose translations didn’t have exact equivalents in English, or something to that effect. One of her answers included a German word, the closest thing to our phrase ‘tramp stamp.’ Arschgeweih = ‘ass antlers.’ I knew then and there that I had to learn German. I needed to know all of the other crazy compound words that were out there and would be fun to work into everyday sentences, like so many angry, rough consonants actually meaning hilarious and interesting things. So my first Word Nerd entry is…


Click through for Wiktionary’s definition, etymology, and pronunciation. Then try to throw it into conversation this weekend.