Words we've learned since reading Think Atheist

Those who know me must think I see only negative in the world... which is often true :(

So I thought I'd be a positivist for a moment, and thank Think|Atheist for offering an intense debating forum where reality and rationality usually prevail :)


I was a anglo-Newfie plunked down in French-Québec at age 4. I had to become bilingual real fast and negotiate some pretty brutal cultural paradigm shifts, as a hated anglo, growing up through the October '70 crisis when Canada imposed martial law onto Québec, jailed thousands of innocents, causing thousands more to go into hiding and burn all personal mementos/correspondence that might be deemed treasonous, including some of my family members. My region was separatist (with which I fundamentally have always agreed, and the separatist government was responsible for removing education from the hands of the clergy, but only after I was done high school), but schooling included daily religion/catechism, which I despised.  In the end, knowledge, reason, and sheer pig-headedness inculcated by my atheist parents, are the traits that eventually got me through those hard times. Some days I wished it was my incredible sense of humour and charisma that were my best traits, but they weren't... LoL!


Being multilingual brings many pleasures to life, but I also missed out on certain speciality areas of vocabulary, and my literary/philosophical vocabulary in English still needs much improvement. Learning is a perpetual life endeavour, and were it not for my heavy school loans, I'd spend all my life in school. But, T|A provides some degree of compensation :)


My favourite new word I've learned here is (hoping it's not more common than I perceive):


Disingenuous. Such an interesting word for debates, subtly distinguishing itself from the act of lying.


What are your favourite new words?

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I sense you're being cynical :(
never heard this one until you said it... and now again today! :)
I think it's very modern like frenemy and that thing Sarah Palin blurted out: refudiate.

"Frenemy" is a new coinage, which I don't think has yet been accepted into the lexicon.


"Refudiate" is not a word--only evidence of Palin's density.

I actually didn't learn any new words because if I don't know a word I don't notice it, so I made my self find a word I newer heard of so in no more adueau:

elucidation - I do know what lucid means, but I newer used it in this way

There is a good site to see how many words you know but I can't find it anymore, it told me I knew about 27000 words, and this was considered average. 

hehe, I didn't think that sort of test existed... but it does! :)

I tried this one on the dating site OkCupid

51282 words
You scored as knowing approximately 51282 words and word meanings. This officially qualifies you as "erudite."
You scored 152% on words known, higher than 83% of your peers.


Being a francophone first and an anglophone second (by education) always used to frustrate me when playing scrabble, because I knew the origins of words, but various dictionaries list (even if they don't prescribe) various words from different languages. But, once I'd advanced in far enough in my biology studies I had to quit playing scrabble completely, because not knowing which common dictionary would bother listing various biological terms was just too frustrating.

Dictionaries are of very limited use when needing to go beyond the surface of most topics.

Kris Feenstra wrote:  "It confounds me that anyone would think a Webter's abridged Dictionary definition printed in 1976 is a solid foundation for their argument."


Kris, next time this happens you should point out what they are doing--it's called grasping at straws.  Another good point to  make about dictionaries (and all reference works) is that they are only as good as their editors or authors. 

Epigene bugged me too. Googling it leads to several interesting and technical geological documents, the best short one I could find is this:

Geological Agents: Definition and classification - Epigene and Hypogene
University of Mysore Geology MSc Syllabus
Epigene Agents:

1. Weathering: Types; Mechanical, Chemical and Biological Weathering and their products.

2. Wind: Geological action of Wind: Erosison _ Deflation, Abrasion, Attrition, Erosional Features - Pedestal Rock - Transportation Suspension, Saltation, Traction: Depositon - Sand dunes, Barchans, Loess.

3. River: Geological action of Rivers: Erosion - Hydraulic action abrasion, attrition, erosional features - potholes, V-shaped Valleys, waterfalls, Canyons - Base level erosion, Meanders, Oxbow lakes. Transportation Deposition- Alluvial Fans, Deltas
4. Ground Water: Definition, porosity, permeability, water table zone of aeration, zone of saturation, movement of ground water - springs and artesian wells. Geological action of ground water; Erosional features - sinks, caverns, solution valleys- Transportation - solution: Depositional features - concretions, stalactites and stalagmites.
5. Oceans: Topography of the Ocean floor -continental slope shelf, Abyssal zone: Geological work of oceans. Coral reefs - Fringing, Barrier and Atoll.

6. Glaciers - Type - Geological action.

B. Hypogene Agents:
1. Volcanoes: Definition and classification of volcanoes - Active, Dormant, Extinct, Central, Fissure - Products of volcanoes, Hot springs, Fumeroles, Geysers: Causes of volcanoes.

2. Earth Quakes: Definition, causes and effects of Earthquakes Seismic waves P.S. and L-Waves, Seismograph and Seismogram Intensity of earth Quakes.

I'm not geologist, but in this case we need to look at technical documents, dictionaries are usually insufficient scientific jargon. Epigene refers to geological activity at or near the surface whereas hypogene means deep within the earth. Epigene also describes water movement, as I underlined. Aqueous is what I ended up choosing, though I was going strictly on instincts :(


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