wordsThanks to Bermudaonion’s Weblog for hosting this weekly event. Head over there to play along.

My words this week are from Eyewitness to Jesus: Amazing New Manuscript Evidence About the Origin of the Gospels by Carsten Peter Thiede and Matthew D’Ancona.


potsherd– A fragment of broken pottery, especially one found in an archaeological excavation

ostracon– A potsherd, esp. one used as a ballot on which the name of a person voted to be ostracized was inscribed.

“all sorts of materials—papyrus, parchment…wax tablets, potsherds (so-called ostraca) and so forth.


polemical– Of or relating to a controversy, argument, or refutation.

“Even the Babylonian Talmud, polemical and aggressive wherever it refers to Christianity”


philology– The study of literary texts and of written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning.

“In brief, classical philogists do not doubt that the text without epi ten gen is not only the shorter by also the better original version.”


itacism– Pronunciation of  (eta) as the modern Greeks pronounce it, that is, like e in the English word be. This was the pronunciation advocated by Reuhlin and his followers, in opposition to the etacism of Erasmus.

“the scribe had been thinking in terms of common, so-called itacism, a spelling variant based on the identical pronunciation of different letters”


What new words did you run across this week?


  • I hope you’re taking notes in what you’re reading! There is a lot of stuff there I’ve never heard of (but then I guess I’ve never read much about archeaology). Very interesting!

  • I’m a classics major and recently took a class on archaeology. I was amazed to find out that the word was potsherd instead of potshard. It’s not a word I use often, but I was still surprised to find out that one is a real word and the other isn’t. Maybe it’s just a difference in accents…

    What a cool meme, I’ll definitely have to check it out!

  • Adam Jacot de Boinod

    Dear Carol

    I wondered if you might like a mutual link to both my Foreign word site and my English word website or press release details of my ensuing book with Penguin Press on amusing and interesting English vocabulary?


    with best wishes

    Adam Jacot de Boinod

    (author of The Meaning of Tingo)



    or wish to include:

    1) TINGO
    When photographers attempt to bring out our smiling faces by asking us
    to “Say Cheese”, many countries appear to follow suit with English
    equivalents. In Spanish however they say patata (potato), in Argentinian Spanish whisky, in French steak frites, in Serbia ptica (bird) and in
    Danish appelsin (orange). Do you know of any other varieties from around the world’s languages? See more on http://www.themeaningoftingo.com


    The Wonder of Whiffling is a tour of English around the globe (with fine
    coinages from our English-speaking cousins across the pond, Down Under
    and elsewhere).
    Discover all sorts of words you’ve always wished existed but never knew,
    such as fornale, to spend one’s money before it has been earned; cagg, a solemn vow or resolution not to get drunk for a certain time; and
    petrichor, the pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a
    dry spell.
    Delving passionately into the English language, I also discover why it
    is you wouldn’t want to have dinner with a vice admiral of the narrow
    seas, why Jacobites toasted the little gentleman in black velvet, and
    why a Nottingham Goodnight is better than one from anywhere else. See
    more on http://www.thewonderofwhiffling.com

    with best wishes


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