Shostack Shostak, Where Art Thou?

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June 16, 2005

Shostack Shostak, Where Art Thou?

Throughout my middle and high school career, the Mount Sinai English Department used one specific brand of vocabulary book. I have no idea what it was really called, but the honor�s nerds in my class referred to it as The Shostak Book� Shostak, of course, being the author.

2005-06-16 casper.jpg
[Casper, my childhood cat. He has nothing to do with this post.]

Despite the fact that I loved to write, I hated vocabulary and grammar. In fact, it was not until the end of high school that I learned how to use commas and semi colons correctly (as evidenced by this blog, however, it is clear that I still flounder). I rarely aced vocabulary quizzes, either, and my success generally depended on my ability to memorize a list of words, not really understand them. If I rebelled against anything in grade school, it was learning the rules of word definition and sentence structure. Good grief, I was a geek.

Now an adult of one kind or another, I do the crossword puzzle every day. In the past, I have kept lists of answers I failed to know. I love words, especially obscure ones� and now I miss those Shostak Books, as my Will Shortz vocabulary level is dangerously low.

Last night, stumbling over the Wednesday puzzle and feeling like quite a failure (I almost always make it until Thursday), I began the Words that Make Me Happy List �. (Geek Alert! Old high school friends might recognize a few that we bonded over in eleventh grade.)

Teetoller (is this a real approved word?)

The Words that Make Me Grumpy List � began in a different form here.

What are your favorite words?

Posted by callalillie at June 16, 2005 6:51 AM | Geek , Old Enough to Have Way Back Memories


I have post-its on my computer with these words on them:

sternutation--the act of sneezing, a sneeze

logodaedaly--a cunning with words

crapulence--headache and stomachache associated with overindulgence in alcohol

Use all three in a sentence, and you win a prize.

Posted by: Sally at June 16, 2005 9:03 AM

My faves --

borborygmus -- (that roiling sound in your stomach when you're hungry)

My husband's is
phytobezoar -- (an undigested food ball in the stomach).

Hmm. "After the rumbling sound of borborgymus, George ingested a plethora of jumbo shrimp, resulting in a painful phytobezoar."

Posted by: Leslie at June 16, 2005 9:10 AM

Posted by: bobtrancho at June 16, 2005 9:31 AM

even better if you spell his name SHOSTAK:

(there will be a quiz on friday...)

Posted by: bobtrancho at June 16, 2005 9:34 AM

The young woman rebuffed the logodaedaly frat boy with a hand wave and polite sternutation, causing him to head home from the bar to a night of lonely crapulence and dehydration.

Posted by: corie at June 16, 2005 9:39 AM


Posted by: bellacosa at June 16, 2005 9:50 AM


what about phrases/salutations? I like "with love and squalor"

Posted by: yp at June 16, 2005 10:14 AM

You've reminded me that I have never known how to pronouce ignominy or physiognomy.

If anyone can tell me how, I'd appreciate it.

Posted by: beth at June 16, 2005 10:25 AM


Posted by: bobtrancho at June 16, 2005 10:29 AM

My Dad's favorite word is "vacciniatious" - of or pertaining to a blueberry. Throw that one into your frat boy sentance to double your prize...

Lately, I've been trying to work "cromulent" into as many work conversations as possible. As in: "Embiggens" is a perfectly cromulent word

Posted by: Dave at June 16, 2005 10:44 AM

I mean "sentence"

Posted by: Dave at June 16, 2005 10:45 AM

�Incredulous� I use it all the time and people always look at me admiringly. MORE? OK�..pundit and diatribe.

When I immigrated to Canada from Sweden my English was the brunt of a thousand jokes and I was mocked mercilessly!! I will always abhor Calgary, despite meeting my husband there some years later. It became my mission in life to display erudition in the usage of the English language. I hope its working for me.....and lets not get started on my repugnance towards the proper usage of English grammar, that there�s another kettle of fish altogether.

Posted by: Uma Anderson at June 16, 2005 10:47 AM


Posted by: corie at June 16, 2005 10:47 AM

There's "rhombus" and "dodecahedron" and a number of Yiddish words. "Ongepatchket" "Meshuggah" and all the obscene ones.

Posted by: Divaah46 at June 16, 2005 11:56 AM

Oh, and I love the picture of the cowboy cat. Did he eat the hat?

Posted by: Divaah46 at June 16, 2005 11:57 AM

What about bellicose and plummet...

and it is either teetotaler or teetotaller

Posted by: jane at June 16, 2005 12:26 PM

No wonder why my crosswords never came out right when I spelled it teetoller...

Posted by: corie at June 16, 2005 12:33 PM

Sesquipedallian: Given to or characterized by the use of long words.

Posted by: Shannon at June 16, 2005 12:40 PM

Ratatouille. Fun to say and tasty to boot.

Luggage. Say it a few time. It feels weird in your mouth.

Jason's logodaedaly was failing due to extreme crapulence, but a great sternutation seemed to revive his vocabulary.

Posted by: Bill at June 16, 2005 1:27 PM

Here's one...

Means "to leave the nest at an early age", as in, "Some species of birds are nidifugous."

I missed that word in a televised spelling bee in sixth grade, and have never forgotten it...

Oh, the ignominy...

Posted by: Amanda at June 16, 2005 1:51 PM

My favorite words of the day include:

insipid, uber, wamble, and wonk-eyed.

Thanks for asking.

Posted by: Brita at June 16, 2005 2:40 PM


Posted by: breana at June 16, 2005 3:05 PM

Posted by: discostu at June 16, 2005 3:09 PM

Big prizes for Corie and Bill!

Uh, your prize is knowing that y'all are badass logodaedalists.

Posted by: Sally at June 16, 2005 5:40 PM I feel like less of a writer because I really didn't have any favorite words pop into my head when I found your page. But I do love the sound of the word lollygag and crikey!

Just found you while blog surfing. Nice blog.

Write on, right now.
Susan Taylor Brown

Posted by: Susan Taylor Brown at June 16, 2005 7:52 PM

Zanzibar and Timbuktu..ahhh, what a getaway in my mind.

Posted by: Virginia at June 16, 2005 10:58 PM

Parsimonious: which my husband most definately IS.

Posted by: Uma Andersson at June 17, 2005 8:42 AM

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