Wednesday, June 22, 2011


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

"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
"'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! (

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Definition: (from
1. a coarse, dark, slightly sour bread made of unbolted rye

"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
"'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. (

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pussy Willow

Suggested by Poiyka

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

"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
"1869, on notion of 'soft and furry,' a children's word."

Awkwardness rating: 10

Pussy willow makes a lovely centerpiece. (