Category: Word of the week

Q&A: Regardless vs Irregardless

Each week here at the Australian Writers’ Centre, we dissect and discuss, contort and retort, ask and gasp at the English language and all its rules, regulations and ridiculousness. It’s a celebration of language, masquerading as a passive-aggressive whinge about words and weirdness. This week, we're sending... read more

Word of the week: Asperity

Asperity (noun) [as'peruhtee] This means sharpness or harshness of temper. So you might say: "The teacher was frustrated with the Year 9 class and spoke to them with asperity." Listen to Valerie and Allison chat more about this and more on the world of writing, blogging and publishing... read more

Word of the week: Comstockery

Comstockery (noun) [kom'stokuhree] According to the Macquarie Dictionary, this is: "the overzealous censorship of the fine arts and literature, often mistaking outspokenly honest works for salacious ones." And it is named after Anthony Comstock, a US moralist. So you might say "The conservative lobby encouraged comstockery when they were... read more

Word of the week: Magisterial

Magisterial (adjective) [majuhs'tearreeuh] You might think this sounds like it comes from majesty, but it doesn't. It actually comes from the word that gave us magistrate, which incidentally used to be schoolteacher. So magisterial means when something is done in the manner of a domineering school teacher. So... read more

Word of the week: Amanuensis

Amanuensis (noun) [uhmanyooh'ensuhs] Did you know this is a fancy word for "secretary"? It comes from Ancient Rome when an amanuensis was employed to take dictation or copy manuscripts. These days it can refer to any kind of secretary or assistant that helps with words. So you might say... read more

Word of the week: Eponymous

Eponymous (adjective) [uh'ponuhmuhs] This comes from the Greek word "eponym" (meaning "significant name") and is the name of the person after whom a label or place or product or invention is named. So you refer to "Ivanka Trump's eponymous label that was dropped by the department store Nordstrom... read more

Word of the week: Lacustrine

Lacustrine (adjective) [luh'kustruyn] Thanks for Matthew Morrison @acutemattiosis for pinging us this word which he, in turn, read in a tweet by Rob Macfarlane. "Lacustrine" usually refers to things like plants or animals that live or occur on or in lakes. So you must say “That’s a lacustrine... read more

Word of the week: Abstruse

Abstruse (adjective) [uhb'stroohs] If you think this word is hard to understand then you would be right! It actually means "difficult to understand or esoteric". So you might say that "He had an abstruse approach to solving the problem." Listen to Valerie and Allison chat more about this and... read more

Word of the week: Callipygian

Callipygian (adjective) [kal-uh-pij-ee-uh n] Believe it or not, this means “a well rounded bum”! So you would say “Kim Kardashian has made a business out of trading off her callipygian figure.” Listen to Valerie and Allison chat more about this and more on the world of... read more

Word of the week: Ignoble

Ignoble (adjective) [ig-noh-buhl] When the letters ig are in front of an n, that usually mean "not" so this simply means "not noble". The Macquarie Dictionary goes on to say that it's of "low character" or "low grade". So you might say "He had ignoble motives." To... read more

Word of the week: Lubricious

Lubricious (adjective) [loo-brish-uh s] According to the book 500 Words Your Should Know: "Another word for lewd, lascivious or indeed libidinous, though this is more formal than any of them. It's from the same Latin root as lubricate and lubricant, with their implications of slipperiness and reducing... read more

Word of the week: Pulchritude

Pulchritude (noun) [pul-chri-tude] It seems like such an ugly looking word but it means the opposite. The Macquarie Dictionary defines it as "beauty" or "comeliness". So you might say: "The actress Robin Wright is a woman of great pulchritude." Listen to Valerie and Allison chat more about this... read more

Word of the week: Anomia

Anomia (noun) [uh-noh-mee-uh] This is the loss of the ability to name objects or recall names. So you might say “As he got older he began experiencing anomia.” We occasionally experience it in day-to-day situations too – when a word or name is “on the tip... read more

Word of the week: Sophistry

Sophistry (noun) [soff-uh-stree] This generally means "a false argument or reasoning". So you might say: "John tried to use sophistry to hide his illegal actions from the tax agency." (From Listen to Valerie and Allison chat more about this and more on the world of writing... read more

Word of the week: Nomenclature

Nomenclature (noun) [noh-MEN-kla-cher] I love this word and actually use it all the time. According to the Macquarie Dictionary it is: "a set or system of names or terms, as those used in a particular science or art by an individual or community". So you might say... read more

Word of the week: Farrago

Farrago (noun) [fuh-rah-goh] This comes from the Latin meaning "cattle feed" and, according to the Macquarie Dictionary means "a confused mixture; a hotchpotch". So you might say "The police were fed with a farrago of lies from the mafia family members." To hear Valerie and Allison chat more... read more

Words of the week: Predilection and Propensity

Predilection and Propensity (noun) "Predilection is almost the same as preference. So you have a predilection for wearing black. Or a predilection for peanut butter on Cruskits. Propensity, on the other hand, is an inclination or tendency. Like someone might have a propensity to blame people for his mistakes. Or... read more

Word of the week: Nicotine

Before this week's word, a special mention to the Build Your Author Platform graduate Facebook group, who each week have been trying their best to incorporate Valerie's word of the week (mentioned on podcast and here) into something they write that week. Some very creative uses so far... read more

Word of the week: Milquetoast

Milquetoast (noun) "I first heard this word when my friend referred to someone by saying: "She's milquetoast". At first, I thought she was saying milk (as in the white stuff you drink) and "toast" and was thinking it was some kind of breakfast thing! But it's milquetoast and... read more

Word of the week: Bucolic

Bucolic (adjective) "As AWC team member Dean pointed out, this words sounds unpleasant - and almost sounds like bubonic (as in the plague) - but is actually an adjective describing a lovely scene, usually in a rustic or rural settings. So you might say 'The country house had a bucolic outlook with... read more