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Zugzwang 


Friday, July 14, 2006

Among the detritus my sister left behind was the metal tin of Adult Late Night Games. I fell upon on the box and took out the cards, when one card caught my eye.

It was a vocabulary card, with a trio of rarely heard words, the rules of the game being you come up with two alternate definitions, presenting all three to your opponents. If they guess one of the made-up definitions to be the meaning of the word, they must remove an item of clothing. Balderdash, in other words.

But what I liked were the words. Adjectives, verbs and nouns I missed my whole life:

  • Zugzwang: an obligation to move in chess, even if disadvantageous (dibs on this word in Scrabble).
  • Clitellum: the raised band encircling the body of an earthworm.
  • Gammomania: A form of insanity characterised by strong and extravagant proposals of marriage.
  • Levigate: to reduce to a fine powder.
  • Briarean: having one hundred hands.
  • Bathycolpous: someone with a particularly large chest.
  • Callipygian: having particularly beautiful buttocks.
  • Kakopyge: someone with ugly buttocks.
  • Daspygal: having hairy buttocks.
  • Hermipygic: possessing only one buttock.
Update: Matt adds steatopygic, having an extreme accumulation of fat on the buttocks, and David adds epipastic, medical dusting powder.

Comments:
With all those -pygia words, they totally left out steatopygic: having an extreme accumulation of fat on the buttocks.
 
I'd whip kakopyge in scrabble if I had letters like this.
 
And let's not forget Epipastic, medical dusting powder.

I regularly listen to a radio show off of the Internet called 'Says You' that has Balderdash sessions with teams of Boston media personalities. I never thought that it could be a spectator sport, but it is fun.
 
What is epipastic used for?
 
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