Know Thyself by Way of a Bigger Vocabulary

Painted WordI just finished a book on words, The Painted Word. It’s amazing what one can learn about oneself by expanding one’s vocabulary. I found out that I engage in sciamachy and omphaloskepsis on a regular basis. I now know that I’m a obsimath with a borderline case of abibliophobia and a full-blown case of dromomania.


What about you? Do you know your value in millihelens? If so, is said value jolie laide or conventional? Have you ever had gymnophoria? Do you groak? When you engage in omphaloskepsis, do you ever find a phlug?


Sciamachy = shadowboxing
Omphaloskepsis = navel gazing / deep introspection
Obsimath = like a polymath, but learning later in life
Abibliophobia = fear of running out of reading material
Dromomania = a crazed passion for travel
Millihelen = the beauty required to launch a single ship (re: Helen of Troy)
Jolie laide = unconventional beauty
Gymnophoria = queasy feeling someone is undressing you with their eyes
Groak = stare at some else’s food hoping to be offered some
Phlug = bellybutton lint

3 thoughts on “Know Thyself by Way of a Bigger Vocabulary

    • Looks like you’re correct. At a minimum the spelling with “p” is the more orthodox / common spelling. Though in the book he uses a “b” (so if it’s a typo, it’s his.) Either the author made a typo or the spelling with a “b” is an unorthodox one–as “b” and “p” are related sounds. (Also a possibility that it’s a word heard, but not seen in writing.) I did see other search returns for spelling with a “b” but don’t know if any of them predate the publication of this book–i.e. they could all be copying his mistake for all I know.


  1. Loved this!

    Ck out the def of Groak; being a wordsmith, you might want to fix it up a bit.

    I also encountered the obs* and ops*. I’ve found out that there are so many book I listen to that even being a great speller, I’m stymied by words I’ve never seen spelled (such as Occam’s razor!j…now, I can hardly wait to delve into etymology! Thanks for the great post,


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