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                        "Famous" Semantics Words 9
                                   2006 - 2007              
         
qwerty        (KWER-tee), (KWER-dee)    n.    [acronym <the first six
                                 letters in the second row of a standard typewriter keyboard]
    
                        a standard typewriter keyboard
   
                           One must know the position of the letters on the qwerty
                           in order to type without looking at the keys.
    
                          (On the 2005 National Spelling Bee Written Test and on the 2006
                           City Written Spelling Test.  A rare exception to the spelling rule
                           that "u" must always follow the letter "q.")
   
zerk        (zuhrk)    n.    [short for zerk fitting <Oscar Zerk,
                                             Austrian-born American invnetor, died 1968.]
   
                a grease fitting (a small metallic plug with a spring-operated ball
                bearing that receives the nozzle of a grease or oil gun and then
                closes to seal the grease inside an axle or tie-rod)              
      
                          Planned obsolescence in modern vehicles, including factory-sealed
                          parts that must be replaced when they wear out, makes the zerk
                          fixture of the past.
                        
                      (An eponym.)
  
origami        (ohr-uh-GAWM-ee)    n.    [<Japanese]
    
                 the art or process of Japanese paper folding; something such
                 as a representation of a bird, flower, or insect made by origami
    
                        A colorful bird made by origami was placed next to each dinner plate.
                
                       (The word misspelled on purpose by the character Eliza Neumann at 
                         national spelling bee in the 2005 movie Bee Season.  On the Colorado
                         State Written Test in 1983 and 2000 and the City Written Test in 2007
                         and 2015.  First appeared in Spell It! in 2007 - Words from Japanese.
                         Appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 81.)
             
eustachian        (yoo-STAY-shuhn), (yoo-STAY-shee-uhn), (yoo-STAY-kee-uhn)
                                             adj.    [<Italian name, Bartolommeo Eustachio (1526-1594),
                                                              a 16th century anatomist]
   
                           of the bony and cartilaginous tube connecting the
                             inner ear with the pharnyx
    
                                  The eustachian tube serves to equalize air pressure on both
                                   sides of the eardrum.
        
                   (This word was misspelled by every student taking the 2006 City Written
                     Spelling Test.  First appeared in PAIDEIA in 2005 - The Body Within.
                     Appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 43.)
                  
formicarium      (fohr-muh-KER-ee-uhm)    n.    [<Latin]
               
                           a formicary; an artificial ant nest arranged for
                           observation or study of the activities of ants;
                           an ant farm; an ant hill               
    
                                  Jeb’s formicarium must have a hole.  We’re finding ants
                                  all over the house.
   
                                  (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1988.)
   
lynx        (lingks)    n.    [<Latin<Greek]
     
               any of various wildcats having relatively long legs, a short
               stubby tail, and often tufted ears, and fur varying in color
               from pale grayish buff to black-spotted tawny
    
                   The common lynx is found in northern Europe and Asia; the lynx
                   cat in the intermountain regions of the United States and Canada.
             
                   (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1978 and in PAIDEIA
                    in 1997 - Mammals.  Has a homonym [links].)                
    
photosynthesis        (foh-toh-SIN-thuh-suhs)    n.    [<Latin]
    
                           the production of organic substances, especially
                           carbohydrates, from carbon dioxode and water by the
                           action of light on the chlorophyll in green plant cells
         
                                  Without light and water, photosynthesis cannot take place
                                   and the plants will die.
     
                                   (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953 and in
                                    PAIDEIA in 1997 - Light.  On American Heritage Dictionary’s
                                    list of 100 words every college students should know.)
            
contiguous        (kuhn-TIG-yuh-wuhs)    adj.    [<Latin]
     
                           lying next to; adjoining; touching along boundaries
      
                               Alaska and Hawaii are not part of the contiguous United States.
           
                                (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953, in PAIDEIA
                                 in 2000 - The Ties That Bind, and in Spell It! in 2008 - Words
                                 from Latin.  On the City Written Test in 2002.)
   
isosceles        (y-SAWS-uh-leez)    adj.    [<Latin<Greek]
      
                           having two equal sides, said of a triangle
             
                              The sides of this figure measure 10 by 10 by 5, therefore
                               it is an isosceles triangle.
        
                             (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953.  On the
                              Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 1985 and 1997.)
        
solecism       (SAWL-uh-siz-uhm), (SOHL-uh-siz-uhm)    n.   
                                                    [<Latin<Greek Soloi, a city in ancient Cilicia where
                                                      a corrupt form of Greek was spoken by colonists]
            
                       an ungrammitacal combination of words in a sentence;
                       a deviation from the idiom of a language or from the
                       rules of syntax; a speech blunder
     
                             The audience cringed when they heard the speaker’s solecism.
           
                              Examples:
                                               *  He was independent on any patron.
                                               *  "I can’t believe we won the game!  We done it!"
                                               *  "You say you can’t find David.  I seen him yesterday."
                                               *  Mom gone to the supermarket.
                                               *  I could of gone to the movies.
                                               *  That liquid is safe, it’s unflammable.
             
                             (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1963.  On the City
                              Written Spelling Test in 1989 and the State Written Test in 1988.] 
     
xanthosis        (zan-THOH-suhs)    n.    [<Latin]
                 
                         yellow discoloration of the skin due to abnormal causes;
                         a virus disease in strawberry plants
            
                               "Yuck!  These strawberries are shriveled up, stunted, and
                                 yellowed from xanthosis!"
    
              (The word misspelled on purpose by the characters Akeelah Anderson and Dylan
               Chiu at the National Spelling Bee in the 2006 Laurence Fishburne movie Akeelah
               and the Bee.  First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1993.  On the City
               Written Spelling Test in 1985.  The winning word for Justin Tyler Carroll of
               Memphis, Tennessee, when he won the 1995 National Spelling Bee.)
    
vomitory        (VAWM-uh-tohr-ee)    n.    [<Latin]
     
                        an entrance piercing the banks of seats in a
                        theater, amphitheater, or arena; a portal
   
                              The Nuggets come onto the court through vomitory one.
   
                            (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 2003 - That’s Entertainment.  
                             On the 2007 City Written Spelling Test.)
   
cemetery        (SEM-uh-ter-ee)    n.    [<English<French<Latin<Greek]
    
                         a graveyard;  place of burial; a consecrated churchyard 
    
                                  Tom and Huck hid behind a stone in the cemetery
                                  and spied on Injun’ Joe and the grave robbers.
        
                                (On The World Almanac’s list of commonly misspelled words [hint:
                                  all "e’s" in cemetery].  First appeared in Words of the Champions
                                  in 1953 and in PAIDEIA in 2006 - Field of Champions.  Appears
                                  in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 119.  On the City Written Spelling
                                  Test in 1972 and 2006.)
    
kowtow        (KOU-tou)    v.    [<Chinese]
    
                      to show great deference or respect to; to fawn over
          
                            Mrs. Adams is an accomplished businesswoman but
                             she has to kowtow to her incompetent boss.
   
                    ("Kowtow" is an Anglicized attempt at Mandarin Chinese ké tóu, originally 
                      an act of obeisance that a subject would show to the emperor by prostrating
                      himself and touching the ground with his forehead.  The word came into
                      English with its present usage during the 1820s.  On American Heritage
                      Dictionary’s list of 100 words every college student should know.)
   
presentism        (PREZ-uhn-tiz-uhm)    n.    [<English<French<Latin]
   
                             an attitude toward the past dominated by present-day
                              attitudes and experiences
   
                                     Judging George Washington as a sexist because he presided
                                     over a country in which his own wife was not allowed to vote
                                     is an example of presentism.
   
                                        (A neologism.)
  
insouciant        (in-SOO-see-uhnt), (in-SOO-shee-uhnt)   adj.   [<French<Latin]
       
                          calm and untroubled; carefree; unconcerned; indifferent
    
                                 The gravity of the situation did not seem to bother
                                    the insouciant Mr. Reynolds.
     
                                (First appeared in Words of the Champions 1956 and in PAIDEIA in
                                 2000 - Mood Swings.  Appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 67.
                                 On the Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 1972, 1981, 1984,
                                 and 1995.) 
       
sciapodous        (sy-AP-uh-duhs)    adj.    [<Latin<Greek + Ecf]
     
                                     having very large feet
          
                                  Only sciapodous beasts could leave footprints large enough
                                   for all ten explorers to stand in.
    
                                 (In Greek mythology sciapods were people living in Libya
                                   with feet big enough to use as sunshades.)
   
spoonerisms        (SPOON-uhr-iz-uhmz)    n. pl.    [<Rev. William A. Spooner,
                                                              (1844-1930), English clergyman and educator,
                                                               noted for such lapses]
         
                              a transposition of usually the initial sounds of two or
                              more words that generally creates a comic effect
               
                                      In one of the original spoonerisms, the Reverend exclaimed,
                                      "Three cheers for our queer old dean!," when he meant,
                                      "Three cheers for our dear old queen!."
                 
                              Other examples:
                                                 *  ears and sparrows  instead of  spears and arrows
                                                 occupewing a pie  instead of  occupying a pew
                                                 *  a well-boiled icicle  instead of  a well-oiled bicycle
                                                 *  It is kistomary to cuss the bride.  instead of
                                                                                      It is customary to kiss the bride.
   
rhinorrhagia        (ry-nuh-RAY-jee-uh)    n.    [<Latin]
   
                                     a nosebleed
      
                                    Some climbers are afflicted with rhinorrhagia at high altitudes.
    
                                     (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 1995 - Odors.  On the National
                                      Written Test in 2004.)
           
caduceus        (kuh DOO-see-uhs), (kuh-DOO-shee-uhs)    n.    [<Latin<Greek]
    
                         a representation of a staff with two snakes curled around
                         it with two wings at the top; the winged staff of Mercury
                         or Hermes; now a symbol of a physician or the medical
                         profession; an emblem of a medical corps
             
                               The caduceus on the window identifies the suite as a doctor’s office.
      
                               (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1964.  On the
                                 Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 1984.)


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