Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.


Believe it or not, groak is a verb that means “to stare at another’s food in hopes that he or she will offer you some, in the manner of dogs and certain people we know.” But you won’t find groak in standard dictionaries.

The human passion and power to name everything is nowhere better demonstrated than in our ability to label almost everything we encounter. Through the wabe of our word-bethumped English language gyre and gimble more than a million words, by far the most Brobdingnagian vocabulary in the history of humankind. Such a wealth of words creates a case of inconspicuous non-consumption. Thousands of vibrant but no longer vibrating English words lie unused in the arcane crannies of huge or obscure dictionaries and end up buried in the bone yards of obsolescence. There are more words, gentle reader, than are dreamt of in your philosophies.

You probably don’t know that a single word can describe the rosy light of dawn, the cooing of doves, the art of writing in the dark or (in the manner of Georges Simenon and Isaac Asimov) the act of continuous writing, but those words — rosicler, roucoulement, scoteography and scriptitation — repose in archaic dictionaries.

Are you, like me, a water drinker and booze-shunner? Then you are, in a word, an aquabib. Do you, like Shaquille O’Neal and me, have large feet? You are in,   another word, scipodous. Perhaps Macbeth and his hen-pecking, buzzard-battering lady would have lived and ended their lives less bloodily if they had known that they were both dretched. You’d be dretched too if you suffered from a star-crossed combination of sanguinolency and illutibility.

Arcane words allow you to insult enemies with impunity. By creatively combining selected labels of disparagement, you can brand your nemesis a badot battologist, a foisonless cumber-ground, an illepid windlestraw, a furciferous zizany, a balatronic hoddypeak, a trichechine jollux, an infendiate volpone, a testudineous huderon, a scolecophagous stadafor, a drumbling gilly-gaupus or a scelestious, roinish, uliginous drazel.

Remembrance of words past also raises the art of the euphemism to its loftiest stratum. That’s not a double chin you sport, it’s a choller. If you are fixated on the care and maintenance of your hair, you are not narcissistic; you are, more mysteriously and less judgmentally, philocomal. If you have a friend who used to share your interests but longer does, he or she evidences ageustia, the loss of the sense of taste. If your relatives are bugging you about your state of singlehood, explain that you are happy to be agamous, and they may come to share your joy.

Then there is the crackling logophony of words, ear-rinsing words that tingle around the tongue, ricochet off the teeth and palate and shoot from the mouth like a watermelon seed. Merge with the collide-o-scope of their sounds: Bogglish. Camstairy. Flambuginous. Impluvious. Infrendiate. Jirble. Kakistocracy. Rixation. Sardoodledom. Whistness. Winx. Zizany.

Trust me. It’s not inaniloquent morology and balbutiating galimatias driveling from my fingertips massaging the keyboard when I tell you that there are lots of things and ideas in the universe that actually do have names, even though hardly anybody knows them. Spotted owls, snail darters and monarch butterflies are not the only treasures on our endangered list these days. Scores of our most colorful and precise words are on the verge of extinction after generations of service. We must strive to save these charming and serviceable specimens of logodiversity. We can have archaic and eat it, too.

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DEAR RICHARD: As I remember from my early (really old) days, the only word in the English language with three pairs of two letters strung together is bookkeeper. Do you know of any others? Beekeeper doesn’t quite work. –John Zentmyer, Lakeside

Bookkeeper is indeed the only common English word with three consecutive pairs of double letters. The assistant to the bookkeeper would be the subbookkeeper, a word with four consecutive double letters that, alas, doesn’t exist. Bookkeeper also inspires me to fantasize about a biologist who maintains raccoon habitats: a raccoon nook keeper — six consecutive sets of double letters!

I also dream of another biologist who studies the secretions inside chickadee eggs. I call this scientist a chickadee egg goo-ologist — and into the world are born three consecutive clusters of triple letters!