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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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 :(

I tried the technical angle as well, but there are sometimes strange informal usages or technical usages in other fields.  I would think, for technical definitions, the quiz author wouldn't delve too deep into technical details or obscurity.


In rhetoric, 'meiotic' and 'hyperbolic' are antonymic.  It's odd because both words also carry definitions in biology and math respectively.  I would expect people to struggle a bit if I set a question up like this:



- asexual cell reproduction

- inflammation of brain tissue

- litotes

- a Turkish desert


I mean, I'm not wholeheartedly against the question if it gets me to look stuff up.  I just don't like multiple choice questions where it feels like there is no correct answer.  I'll lapse into a fit of unsatisfactory over-analysis until something else distracts me.



44622 words

Congratulations! You scored ###!

You scored as knowing approximately 44622 words and word meanings. This officially qualifies you as "college material."

i guess that's good cause i am in college, but i guess that also means i need to read more.

That site is a fake! The site just makes you sing in, which I didn't do.
I was thinking about something like this: Test Your Vocabulary Size
I love that people here have large vocabularies and aren't afraid to use them. There are many elite users here, but few elitists. Thanks to all for sending me to the dictionary on a regular basis!

Sesquipedalian is a good word to use on vocabulary elitists when you do come across them.  It's funny because the etymology makes sense, but you can't decipher the word's meaning directly from the root words.

It may be a foot and a half long, but I think antidisestablishmentarianism perfectly describes the philosophy of the Tea Party. Though I'm not happy to see this concept return, I am pleased to be able to use it in a meaningful sentence.
One term I use a lot more is "peer reviewed evidence". BTW I also heard the word "gullible" is no longer in the Atheists dictionary as it has become obsolete - :)


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