DPS Semantics ~ Official website ~

                        "Famous" Semantics Words 6 
                                     2003 - 2004    
hermeneutics        (huhr-muh-NYOO-diks)    n. pl.    [<Greek]        
                          the study of the methodological principles of
                          interpretation and explanation, specifically the study
                          of the general principles of biblical interpretation
                       Experts in hermeneutics met to discuss the Dead Sea Scrolls.
                    (The winning word for Freddy Crane when he won the National Spelling
                     Championship as portrayed on NBC’s sitcom Frasier which was first aired
                     on March 12, 2002.  First appeared in PAIDEIA in 2002- Hitting the Books.)
plumicorn        (PLOOM-uh-kohrn)    n.    [<Latin]
                          one of two tufts of lengthened feathers on the head
                          of various owls
                             Each plumicorn of the great horned owl sticks up like a cat’s ear.
                     (Included in the oral finals of the Colorado State Spelling Bee in 2002 and
                      again in 2007.  The winning word for Dhivya Senthil Murugan of Cherry
                      Creek Challenge School when she won the 2011 Colorado State Spelling
                      Bee besting Jacob Durso-Sabina of Denver’s Morey Middle School.)
dendrochronology    (den-droh-kruh-NAWL-uh-jee)    n.   
                                                                        [<Latin + <Latin<Greek]
                                   the science of dating events, intervals of time,
                                   and variations in time by studying the rings of
                                   growth in trees
                                 Dendrochronology tells us that some giant sequoias have
                                 lived at least 2400 years and probably as long as 4000 years.
                                  (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 2003 - Hitting the Books.)
psephologist    (see-FAWL-uh-juhst)    n.    [<Greek]
                           one who specializes in psephology, the scientific
                           study of elections                 
                                 A psephologist uses the voting tendencies of a myriad of
                                 diverse groups to predict the outcome of the election.
                                 (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 2003 - Hitting the Books.)
miscible        (MIS-uh-buhl)    adj.    [<Latin]
                           capable of being mixed, said of liquids
                            The chemists will use two miscible liquids such as water
                               and kerosene or oil and kerosene.
               (On the City Written Spelling Test in 2003 and 2018 and the Colorado
                 State Written Spelling Test in 1975 and 1984.  First appeared in Words
                 of the Champions in 1979 and in PAIDEIA in 2002 - Chemistry.  DPS top
                 speller Brad Gordon of Hill Jr. High went down on this word at the 1980
                 Colorado-Wyoming Spelling Bee.)
propellerhead        (proh-PEL-uhr-hed)    n.    [<cartoon images of
                                                  science fiction fans wearing caps with propellers
                                                  projecting from the top, probably based on the
                                                  cap worn by TV puppet and cartoon character Beany
                                                  Boy in the show Time for Beany first aired in 1949.]
                                  an enthusiast of technology; a technophile
                                         We can’t get Gordon away from his computer, he’s
                                         just a propellerhead.
                                 (The neologism that appeared in Merriam-Webster commercials
                                   for Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, unabridged,
                                   copyright 2002.)
schadenfreude        (shawd-uhn-FROI-duh)    n.    [<German]
                                  enjoyment obtained from the mishaps of others
                                         One who seeks schadenfreude by playing embarrassing
                                         pranks on others is a despicable human being.
                                         (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1983 and in
                                          Spell It! in 2008.  On the City Written Spelling Test in 2010.)
capybara        (kap-uh-BER-uh), (kap-uh-BAWR-uh)    n.    [<Portuguese<Tupi]
                          an edible, aquatic South American rodent related to
                           the guinea pig
                             A capybara, the world’s largest rodent, has webbed feet and no tail.
                               (Capybaras provide food for the five marooned men 
                                 in Jules Verne’s 1875 novel The Mysterious Island.)
uncopyrightable        (un-kaw-pee-RYT-uh-buhl)    adj.
                                                                                  [<English<Latin + <English]
                              of the inability to obtain the exclusive legal sanction
                               to publish or sell a literary or artistic work 
                                      Needless to say, plagiarized material is uncopyrightable.
                                     (The longest everyday word in the English language [15 letters]
                                       in which no letter of the alphabet is used more than once.)
ankh        (angk), (awngk)    n.    [<Egyptian]
                 a cross having a loop instead of an upper vertical arm used
                 especially in ancient Egypt as a sacred emblem symbolizing life
                          An ankh is the secret symbol of sanctuary in the 1976
                            science fiction film Logan’s Run.
                        (On the Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 1981 and 2000.)
ziggurat        (ZIG-uh rat)    n.    [<Akkadian]
                       an ancient Babylonian temple tower consisting of a lofty
                       pyramidal structure built in successive stepped-back
                       stages with outside staircases and a shrine at the top  
                             We explored an ancient ziggurat on our trip to Iraq.
                             (On American Heritage Dictionary’s list of 100 words every
                               college student should know.)
wiliwili        (wee-lee-WEE-lee)    n.    [<Hawaiian]
                      any of several coral trees of the islands of the
                      Pacific Ocean having light soft wood that is used
                      for the outriggers of canoes
                           Brightly colored parrots could be seen nesting in
                            the wiliwili trees.
                           (A tautonym.  The winning word for John Knauf of St. Mary’s Academy
                            when he won the 1983 Colorado State Spelling Bee over runner-up
                            John Wickelgren of Hill Jr. High School.  On the 1989 City Written
                            Spelling Test.  First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1986.)
gerrymander        (JER-ee-man-duhr)    v.    [<American name
                                                                                 (Elbridge Gerry) + salamander]
                            to divide election districts in an unnatural and unfair
                            way to give one political party a majority in a large
                            number of districts while concentrating the voting 
                            strength of the opposition in a few districts  
                                The court ruled that the school district’s plan to gerrymander
                                attendance boundaries would maintain de facto segregation.
                 (Elbridge Gerry [1744-1814], a signer of the Declaration of Independence,
                  when as governor of Massachusetts in his second term, helped the state
                  legislature redraw electoral boundaries that would aid in his election for a
                  third term.  When Gilbert Stuart, the portrait painter, noted that the map
                  of one of the districts resembled the elongated body of a salamander, the
                  word gerrymander was coined.  On the State Written Test in 1973 and 1997.
                  On American Heritage Dictionary’s list of 100 words every college student
                  should know.  An eponym.)
velociraptor        (vuh-LAW-suh-rap-tuhr)    n.    [<Latin]
                            a genus of theropod dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous 
                            period having a long head with a flat snout and a large
                            sickle-shaped claw on the second toe of each foot
                                   The velociraptor entered the Jurassic Park visitor center
                                    and stalked toward Tim and Lex.
                           (The fiercest of the predators in the 1990 novel Jurassic Park by Michael
                             Crichton.  On the City Written Spelling Test 1n 2004 and 2015.) 
bathyal        (BATH-ee-uhl)    adj.    [<ISV<Greek]
                       of, or relating to, the deeper parts of the ocean especially
                        between 100 and 1,000 fathoms 
                            It is dangerous for divers to explore the bathyal regions.
                             (The most misspelled word on the 2003 City Written Spelling Test.)
naphtha        (NAF-thuh)    n.    [<Greek<Iranian]
                a flammable liquid distilled from petroleum and used as a solvent
                            Naphtha is a raw material used for the conversion to gasoline.
                    (The winning word for Sarah McNaughton of Smiley Middle School when she
                      won the 2003 City Oral Spelling Bee.  Often misspelled because its common
                      pronunciation [NAP-thuh] is considered unacceptable according to Webster’s
                      unabridged dictionary.  First appeared in PAIDEIA in 2003 - Chemistry.  On
                      the Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 1982.)
golem        (GOH-luhm)    n.    [<Yiddish<Hebrew]
                    an artificial figure constructed to represent a human being
                    and endowed with life; a senseless mechanical creature,
                    an automaton, a robot; a blockhead
                         Michael Devlin created a golem to punish Frankie McCarthy and
                         his gang of Falcons.
                  (A principle character in Pete Hammill’s 1997 novel Snow in August, selected for 
                   the One-State-One-Book reading promotion by Colorado Governor Bill Owens
                   and KHOW radio talk show host Peter Boyles in 2002.  On the City Written
                   Spelling Test in 2003.  First appeared in PAIDEIA in 2001 - Fabulous Words.)
nanotechnology        (nan-oh-tek-NAWL-uh-jee)    n.    [<ISV + <Greek]
                                    the art of manipulating materials on an atomic
                                    or molecular scale especially to build microscopic
                                    devices such as robots 
                                        The goal of nanotechnology is to build machines 1,000 times
                                         smaller that the diameter of a human hair.
                           (On American Heritage Dictionary’s list of 100 words every college student
                             should know.  The theme of Michael Crichton’s 2002 novel Prey.)
nth        (enth)    adj.    [<English + th]
                    numbered with some nonspecific large ordinal number;
                         extreme, utmost
                             The professor’s lecture contained all of the components of
                              dullness to the nth degree.
                     (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 2002 - Spelling Counts.  One of the few
                       English words without a, e, i ,o ,u, or y.)
quidnunc        (KWID-nungk)    n.    [<Latin (quid nunc, "What now?")]
                         a person who is eager to know the latest news and
                         gossip; a gossip; a busybody
                              "Please don’t tell Mrs. Radcliff, the neighborhood quidnunc, or
                                everyone in the whole town will know!"
                              (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1991.  On
                                the Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 2000.)


DEVELOPED BY MWS & AIS © DPS Semantics 2006-2011, All rights reserved