You Pick Two

I chose today’s word, not because it is exotic or rare, but because it has two meanings that are wildly different from each other. I find that fascinating!

Solvent is both a noun and an adjective: As a noun, it means: 1. something that dissolves another thing, and 2. something that solves a problem.



As an adjective, it means: 1. able to pay one’s debts, and 2. able to dissolve another substance.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin solvere (to loosen, to dissolve, to pay). Ultimately from the Indo-European root pleu- (to flow), that is also the source of flow, float, flit, fly, flutter, pulmonary, pneumonic, pluvial, fluvial, effluvium, fletcher, and plutocracy. Earliest documented use: 1653.

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My guiding star

Lodestar is a noun meaning: someone or something that serves as a guiding principle, model, inspiration, ambition, etc.



ETYMOLOGY: From Old English lad (way) + star. A lodestar is called so because it’s used in navigation, it shows the way. Earliest documented use: 1374


“He was her rock, the lodestar on which she could focus.” Laura Benedict; Bliss House; Pegasus Books; 2014.

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Do your balistrarias need reinforcing?

balistraria1A balistraria is the name of the cross-shaped holes in the walls of fortresses and castles, through which weapons such as crossbows (also known as arbalests) could be fired.

It is also the name of the room in your castle where you would keep the arbalests or crosswbows.




By The Way, if you’re able to fire an arbalest, you’d be called a balistrier!

This word was found in the wonderful and often hilarious book: Weird and Wonderful Words, edited by Erin McKean

Don’t eat that angletwitch

earthwormAn angletwitch is an earthworm, the word originated in 14th century Merry Olde England from: Middle English angeltwicche, angeltwacche, from Old English angeltwæcce, angeltwicce, from angel hook + -twæcce, -twicce (from twiccian to pluck, catch hold of). Source:


weird-and-wonderful-words-book-coverThis word was found in the wonderful and often hilarious book: Weird and Wonderful Words, edited by Erin McKean


What weird and wonderful words do you have to share today? Please post them in the comments section with their meanings!!

Let us worship words!

oliver-wendell-holmes-sr-quoteOur word for today was found in a page in the Reader’s Digest:  epeolatry, meaning, the worship of words.

Etymology: From Greek, epos (word) + -latry (worship).


oliver-wendell-holmes-sr-1The first citation of the word is from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., in his 1860 book Professor at the Breakfast Table.

For another cool source for new words, visit:

No comments from the “peanut gallery”!

My father has been on my mind lately, he used a lot of colorful expressions, like calling us (my brother, sister and I) “the peanut gallery” when we were in high spirits and acting silly. It came as a mild shock that, in fact, it wasn’t used to describe silliness at all. Here is what I discovered this morning:

peanut-gallery1The “peanut gallery” (noun) means:

  1. The hindmost or uppermost section of seating in a theater balcony, where the seats are cheapest. (2.) In reference to theaters, of the section with the highest, cheapest seats; hence “people who occupy a (theater) gallery” (contrasted with “gentlemen of the pit”) first by Lovelace, 1640s, hence “to play to the gallery”.

So, it’s a slight to those people who can’t afford the expensive seats.


  1. A group of people whose opinions are considered unimportant: “Pressure is building … to force … Alan Greenspan to cut interest rates and pump up the money supply. [He] has politely ignored these catcalls from the peanut gallery” (H. Erich Heinemann).




  1. A source of insignificant criticism: “No remarks from the peanut gallery!”[1885–90, American slang]




Join the vanguard

star-trek-voyager-shipOur word for the day is vanguard, which I heard on an episode of Star Trek- Voyager.

By the way, if you’ve heard a word you like, or one that made you stop and look it up, please share your treasures with us on this thread!



vanguard1Vanguard is a noun with three meanings:

  1. the front part of an advancing army
  2. the forefront in any field.



intellectual-woman1The third meaning is one I hadn’t heard applied before! It also means:

the leaders of any intellectual or political movement.



dictionary-genericEtymology: [1480–90; earlier van(d)gard(e) < Middle French avangarde, variant of avant-garde]