...Kinda petencious words (?)
fulcrum: A fulcrum is the supporting point of a lever. The first fulcrum you encountered was probably on the playground — right underneath the see-saw.
Back in the 17th century, a fulcrum referred to any general prop or support. Today it’s taken on more scientific connotations, thanks to physics class. However, people still use fulcrum to describe something that plays an essential role or serves as the center of an activity or situation, such as "the fulcrum of the debate." That dad who organizes everybody’s playdates? He's the fulcrum of the playground social circle.
mainstay: A mainstay is something that acts as a source of support for a community. If your hometown's economy depends on tourists visiting every summer, you could say that tourism is the mainstay of your town.
A mainstay holds everything together, whether it's your grandmother who acts as the anchor of your whole crazy family, a pillar that physically keeps a building from falling down, or the job that enables you to pay your rent every month. The noun mainstay is originally a nautical term meaning the rope that stabilizes two masts on a sailboat, and since the 1780s it's been used to mean "chief support."
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (also supercalifragilistic): a nonsense word, meaning extraordinarily good; wonderful.
"the only word to characterize Kepler's discoveries was ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’"
salient: If something stands out in a very obvious way, it can be called salient. It's time to find new friends if the differences between you and your current friends are becoming more and more salient.
fetid: If you want to understand the true meaning of fetid, leave your sweaty gym clothes in your locker for a few days. Fetidis a fancy way of saying that something smells really bad.
From the Latin word meaning "stinking," this adjective has been in use since the early 15th century, which was a particularly fetid time in history — showers, laundry detergent, and deodorant had not yet been invented. Here's an easy way to remember it: "the fe(e)t (d)id stink." It's sometimes spelled foetid.
verboten: Something verboten is forbidden. It isn't allowed or permitted.
If this word looks and sounds odd, that's because it comes straight to English from German. The concept is simple: anything verboten is forbidden to do or say. Lying in court is verboten. Wearing a hat in church is verboten. Many swear words are verboten to say on TV (or at the dinner table). A verboten act could be illegal or just something frowned upon, like a taboo. Different cultures believe different things are verboten.
Solecism: Ever snore at the opera? Burp at the dinner table? Forget your mom's birthday? Probably all three, right? Well, don't worry. Instead of just screwing up, what you did was commit a solecism. Sounds kinda neat that way, huh?
The origin of solecism comes from the ancient Greek word meaning "speaking incorrectly," and solecism does have another meaning that's more specifically verbal. If you say something incorrectly, or make a grammatical error in writing, that's also a solecism. It can be just as mortifying as burping at the dinner table. Well, almost.
Peregrination: If you went backpacking through Europe last summer, you could call your travels a peregrination. A peregrination is a long journey or period of wandering.
Peregrination comes from the Latin peregrinari, which means “to travel abroad.” A peregrination is a journey or pilgrimage, especially one that's made on foot. This word typically applies to traveling for an extended period of time or over a great distance. So, you wouldn’t call a trip to the grocery store a peregrination. However, if you traveled the globe looking for the world’s best grocery store, you could call that a peregrination.
Melange: Why call it a mixture when it can be a melange? A tricolor vegetable melange makes even carrots, peas, and corn sound like gourmet cuisine. A melange is any combination of anything, but the word always heightens the glamour quotient.
The French have a way of making simple words sound like romantic entreaties of love. Call any random assortment of things a melange, or as it's sometimes spelled, mélange, and voila, you've given it a sparkle that plain old words like combination, mixture, and blend just cannot convey. This word — along with a melange of other attributes, like great bread and pastries, delicious wine, and fine fashion — are all reasons why we love the French.
ombudsman: In the U.S., your congressman is considered your unofficial ombudsman or the state official who investigates and makes sure the government is acting in the best interest of its citizens.
The word ombudsman comes from the Swedish ombudsman, meaning "legal representative." An ombudsman is a legal representative, often appointed by a government or organization to investigate complaints made by individuals in the interest of the citizens or employees. Usually this is a state official appointed to oversee an investigation of complaints about improper government activity against citizens.
oneiric: Oneiric is an adjective that describes things related to dreams. At the end of "The Wizard of Oz," you are left to decide if Dorothy really traveled to Oz or if she was simply in an oneiric state, dreaming up the whole adventure.
Oneiric comes from the Greek word oneiros, meaning a dream. In Greek mythology, the Oneiroi, or Dreams, were the brothers (or sons, depending on the author) of Hypnos, or Sleep. Homer, Ovid, and Euripides all wrote about them — Homer in both the "Odyssey" and the "Iliad." The adjective oneiric is often used in film theory to describe the dream-like elements of a movie.
seminal: Call something seminal when it's so original, so groundbreaking and awesome that it will influence everything that comes after it. Picasso produced more than a few seminal works of art, for example.
Technically, seminal means something related to semen or seeds. But these days people more often use the word to describe something that plants the seed for creative growth. An innovative piece of music or literature, a fresh new idea, or an invention that changes everything could each be called seminal. Synonyms include critical, fundamental, original, and primary.
Ophidian: limbless scaly elongate reptile; some are venomous