Word of the Day: Pareidolia

Hello, all! I am back after an unexpectedly long absence with a word that I adore, and had to share with you.

(n.) /pærɨˈdliə/ /parr-i-doh-lee-ə/

Pareidolia describes the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, often attributing something familiar to random characteristics. This includes likening the pattern of craters on the moon to a human face, seeing shapes in the clouds, or hearing messages in music played at the wrong speed.
It was also likely a useful ability for our ancestors, to make sense out of a world which they did not have the science to explain.
 To demonstrate, here are a few birds flying over a cloudy sunset, but we can’t help but see them as smiley faces. Isn’t pareidolia cool?

Seeing patterns is a handy ability for us primates, but seeing patterns where none exist may well be the source of artistic expression.

Etymology: 20th century, from Greek; para (‘beside, instead of,’ or in this case, ‘faulty’) + eidolon (‘image, shape,form’).

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Word of the day: Logomachy

(n.)  /ləˈɡɒməki/

Apropos to the subject matter of Cor Lingua, logomachy refers to an argument about words. The plural, also usable as a count noun, is logomachies. Use it well, and I hope you don’t get into any logomachies over it – unless you want to, of course.

Examples of use:
They got into quite the heated logomachy.
Her favourite thing to do is engage in logomachy.

It will eventually be settled, after many late-night logomachies.
Logomachies are common in literary circles.

Etymology: Mid 16th century. From Greek logomakhia, from ‘logos’ (word) + ‘makhia’ (fighting).

Word of the day: Velleity

(n.)  /vɛˈliːɪti/

Velleity is a perfect word to describe a wish or inclination which is not quite strong enough to actively pursue or lead a person to action. It can describe an idle wish or passing idea, as well. The plural is ‘velleities.’

Examples of use:
The idea was intriguing, but it remained a velleity.
Their head is full of velleities, but no real plans.

Etymology: Early 17th century. From Medieval Latin ‘velleitas’, from Latin ‘velle’ (to wish).

Word of the day: Blatherskite

(n.) /ˈblaðəskʌɪt/

We all know at least one of these, I think. Blatherskite is a charming word to describe a person who talks excessively but says little that makes sense. It can also be used as a mass noun to describe nonsense or talk without substance.

Examples of use:
That blatherskites in the café were annoying, yet somewhat entertaining.
Every time I post something, one of those trolling blatherskites chimes in.

He keeps trying to impress people, but he is just full of blatherskite.
Politicians have a tendency towards obfuscating blatherskite.

Etymology: Mid 17th century. From Scottish ‘blather’ (to talk excessively without sense) + ‘skate’ (denoting a person regarded with contempt).

Word of the day: Nugacity

(n.)  /njuːˈɡasɪti/

Happy Friday! Here’s a fun little word for a ‘trivial or frivolous thing or idea.’ May your weekend be relaxing, and full of enjoyable nugacities.

I couldn’t take him seriously, every thing he did seemed to be a nugacity.

Etymology: Late 16th century. From late Latin nugacitas, from Latin nugax, nugac- ‘trifling, frivolous’.