Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spelunk

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-verb (used without object)
1. to explore caves, especially as a hobby

Examples:
"One of my favorite activities is to spelunk local caves looking for treasure."
"When I spelunk, the only 'treasure' I find is bat guano."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"'a cave, cavern, a vault,' c.1300, from Old French spelonque (13c.) or directly from Latin spelunca 'a cave, cavern, grotto,' from Greek spelynx (accusative spelynga, genitive spelyngos) 'a cave, cavern,' from spelos 'a cave.' An adjective, speluncar 'of a cave' is recorded from 1855."

Awkwardness rating: 8

Off spelunking I go! (atravelbroad.com)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pumpernickel

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a coarse, dark, slightly sour bread made of unbolted rye

Examples:
"Pumpernickel bread sounds just about how it tastes: awkward."
"In German, the word pumpernickel relates back to the indigestible quality of the bread."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"'dark rye bread,' 1756, pompernickel, from German (Westphalian dialect) Pumpernickel (1663), originally an abusive nickname for a stupid person, from pumpern 'to break wind' + Nickel 'goblin, lout, rascal,' from proper name Niklaus (see Nicholas). An earlier German name for it was krankbrot, literally 'sick-bread.'"

Awkwardness rating: 7

Pumpernickel bread looks deceivingly delicious. (germanfoodguide.com)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pussy Willow

Suggested by Poiyka

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a small willow, Salix discolor, of eastern North America, having silky catkins
2. any of various similar willows

Examples:
"My mother thought that the addition of some pussy willow branches would complete the table centerpieces."
"A flowering pussy willow is one of the earliest signs of spring."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1869, on notion of 'soft and furry,' a children's word."

Awkwardness rating: 10

Pussy willow makes a lovely centerpiece. (arborday.org)