PK is Charmed and So Am I

by Tedra Osell on March 5, 2012

A public thank you to Kieran for teaching PK two new vocabulary words–“diaphoresis” and “micturition”–which should come in very handy. And for the delivery of a package this morning that prompted PK to get out of bed before noon.



Aulus Gellius 03.05.12 at 8:30 pm

I’ve been teaching “Etymology of Scientific Terms” this semester, and both teaching and learning lots of similarly useful terms. “Macrostomia” and “trachelodynia” come in handy all the time.


John Holbo 03.06.12 at 1:05 am

I don’t see why we should be biased in favor of existing words. I stumbled upon this page yesterday:

“Welcome to my site for Dikephobia. In hopes of trying to provide some helpful information, I have searched the Internet looking for information on Dikephobia (justice fear, moral rightness fear, honor fear, fairness fear, law fear, judge fear, justice phobia, moral rightness phobia, honor phobia, fairness phobia, judge phobia, law phobia, fear of justice, fear of moral rightness, fear of honor, fear of fairness, fear of the law, fear of judges, phobia of justice, phobia of moral rightness, phobia of honor, phobia of fairness, phobia of the law, phobia of judges). Please note I am not a doctor and only provide this site for informational purposes. I hope you will find some benefit in the site.”

Obviously auto-generated, but charming in its way. I like the idea of a cheater defending himself on the grounds that he suffers from a ‘fear of fairness’.


Hob 03.06.12 at 1:59 am

Another kid-pleaser: borborygmus.


rea 03.06.12 at 3:05 am

borborygmus? onomatopoeia!


Aulus Gellius 03.06.12 at 4:05 am

There are also a lot of great Greek names for rhetorical devices, like hysteron proteron and prosopopoeia. My favorite was always aposiopesis, because — well, never mind why.


Warren Terra 03.06.12 at 5:20 am

How old is PK? Because there’s a great scene in The League Of Gentlemen that uses “micturation”, if PK is old enough for that sort of thing.


Jim Harrison 03.06.12 at 6:21 am

I personally think timesis is far fucking out.


reason 03.06.12 at 9:07 am

PK? I thought that always meant Paul Krugman.


Katherine 03.06.12 at 10:10 am

Pseudonymous Kid. It was that moniker that made me realise where else I’d read Tedra.


stostosto 03.06.12 at 10:50 am

PK is indisputably Paul Krugman. A better moniker would be Pseudonymous Child, or PC, since the risk of confusion with other acronyms would be negligible.


chris y 03.06.12 at 11:27 am

stostosto, Pseudonymous Kid has been PK on the internet for seven or eight years to my certain knowledge. That bird has flown.


seeds 03.06.12 at 12:23 pm

Pseudonymous Minor is another alternative that would be totally unambiguous in every way, and would make the last sentence of the OP crystal clear.


Orange 03.06.12 at 2:25 pm

Re: comment #7, it’s spelled “tmesis.” You have to love a word that begins with a wildly im-fucking-plausible pair of consonants.

Borborygmus is indeed an awesome word. Random internal intestinal rumblings are far more entertaining with a terrific noun with which to label them.

PK might also like syncope, pronounced SIN-ko-pee. It means passing out, fainting. Extreme case of the vapors.


Ginger Yellow 03.06.12 at 4:04 pm

“Every time a rug is micturated upon in this fair city, I have to compensate the owner?”


Robert 03.06.12 at 4:31 pm

Exercise caution. Medical jargon can be addicting.

I find the adjectives most useful in ordinary life. Fulminant, malignant, and pathognomonic are favorites.


ajay 03.06.12 at 4:39 pm

A public thank you to Kieran for teaching PK two new vocabulary words—”diaphoresis” and “micturition”

I hope PK himself has already offered Kieran his sincere contrafibularities. If not, he should do so interphrastically.


ben w 03.06.12 at 4:47 pm

My favorite was always aposiopesis, because—well, never mind why.

My admittedly not very strenuous efforts to get prophylaxis-by-withdrawal renamed “aposiopenis” have so far not been very successful.


Steven 03.06.12 at 4:51 pm

Teaching young people very complicated and arcane words that mean simple things such as “to urinate” is not always a good thing, unless it is with the accompanying lesson that although these words are definitely neat, they should rarely, if ever, actually be used.

Simple, equivalent words are preferable to their complex and rarely-known counterprarts almost all the time. Diaphoresis and micturation are the Ferraris that should spend almost all of their time in the garage, washed and waxed, in favor of your Subaru Forester or Outback (old body style). Or the subway. I am all for owning Ferraris, just not for driving them. They look foolish and make other people feel bad. Yes, I am a humbug.


Martian 03.06.12 at 4:53 pm

@ ajay – Thank-you Blackadder!


Shelley 03.06.12 at 5:25 pm

No one should post a word here without explaining its provenance!

That’s the fun part.


Mrs Tilton 03.06.12 at 5:32 pm

Chriy Y @11,

I’ll go out on a limb here and venture that, just possibly, stostosto @10 was making a joke. (When stostosto mixes a martini, s/he clearly just waves the vermouth bottle over the pitcher without bothering to open it.)


ben w 03.06.12 at 6:14 pm

Jeez, who made water in Steven’s corn flakes?


Salient 03.06.12 at 6:25 pm

stostosto wonwonwon the morning part of the thread, but seeds wins the afternoon part.


rea 03.06.12 at 6:49 pm

Pseudonymous Minor is another alternative that would be totally unambiguous in every way

People would think she meant the Prime Minister.


Warren Terra 03.06.12 at 7:23 pm

@#23 please see #20.


NBarnes 03.06.12 at 7:53 pm

‘epistemology’ remains one of my very most favorite word/concept combinations in the entire language. I think our society would be much improved if everybody understood that there is a way of thinking about how we know things, instead of just ‘knowing’.

However, at Crooker Timber, I suspect that I don’t need to oversell epistemology as awesome.


EB 03.06.12 at 8:52 pm

Without being an ogre about it, please do what it takes to get that kid out of bed before noon. Emotional distrss is not helped by unpredictable sleep schedules. I speak from sad experience . . .


Steven 03.06.12 at 8:56 pm

It is later in the day. My mood has improved. Teach kids arcane words and encourage them to utter them with glee!


Theophylact 03.06.12 at 10:40 pm

It’s like letting them know about dinosaurs. They’ll get over annoying you with it after a while, but the learning experience can be a life-changer.


BillCinSD 03.06.12 at 10:53 pm

and here I thought micturations came from Vogon poetry. see if I don’t


Tedra Osell 03.07.12 at 12:28 am

Warren @6: He’s 11. I don’t know TLOOG, but it has struck me in the past as the kind of thing he would probably like at some point, yes.

Everyone who wants to quibble with PK being PK: consider having to figure out which PK is meant as an exercise in “context” and “close reading”.


Warren Terra 03.07.12 at 12:50 am

Ooh, yes, a better British Comedy reference for use of “micturation” than the one I came up with – and one that’s unquestionably suitable for an eleven-year-old boy. Or at least, far less sexual suggestiveness and gore than in The League Of Gentlemen.

I recommend the books or the radio series, rather than the television adaptation or the movie.


LFC 03.07.12 at 1:32 am

It’s ‘micturition’ not ‘micturation’.


Warren Terra 03.07.12 at 1:43 am

I do ap0logize for my incorrect usage.
That is oddly inconsistent, though: I micturate, and thereby perform micturition.


phosphorious 03.07.12 at 2:12 am

Ginger Yellow @14

That’s the reference that leapt to my mind, but you can hardly recommend it to PK. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to Paul Krugman.


Aulus Gellius 03.07.12 at 3:23 am

@34: “micturition” is closer to the Latin, since micturio is a fourth-conjugation verb. My dictionary says “micturate” is a back-formation from “micturition,” so I suppose it was back-formed somewhat carelessly.

Interesting (or, well, pretty boring) to note that in origin, -uri- marks the desiderative, so micturio *should* mean “I wish to micturate” (though Juvenal, whose the only author known to us who uses it, doesn’t use it that way).


Salient 03.07.12 at 4:02 am

Everyone who wants to quibble with PK being PK

It’s become quite a powder keg at the present moment, unbefitting a progressive commentariat.


ben w 03.07.12 at 4:33 am

Not boring at all!


ajay 03.07.12 at 1:25 pm

Everyone who wants to quibble with PK being PK: consider having to figure out which PK is meant as an exercise in “context” and “close reading”.

Personally I find it much more entertaining to assume that they are the same, and “Tedra Osell” is a pseudonym used by Paul Krugman’s mum.


Tedra Osell 03.07.12 at 6:42 pm

I’m so proud of my boy.

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