Each of the optical units that make up the compound eye of an insect.Origin
Late 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek ommatidion, diminutive of omma, ommat- ‘eye’.


To get a good look at an ommatidium, one must use a good magnifying glass or a dissecting microscope. Flies care nothing for that, simply using their compound eyes to judge your swatting motion so they can jump the opposite direction.


My daughter has announced that she cannot read these words of the day “any more”!
She does not like bugs, especially big ones. I told her that today’s illustration bug was not a big one, but that doesn’t matter.
When we learn a new word, it comes in with baggage. Perhaps it is attached to a happy  circumstance and the word will go on with a happy association when we encounter it or use it later.
Sometimes words will cascade around us, appearing in a blog post…and a news article…and in the latest novel we are reading. Those coincidental finds help to cement a new word into our Vast Fund of General Information (VFOGI) because we seem almost inundated with the word all at once.
Sometimes a word is like todays with an interesting sound. It is always helpful to be sure to speak the new words aloud, and it also helps to write a sentence or two using the word. Those actions help the brain synapses to make the network of connections which build new ideas into our thought patterns.
Making an illustration, as I try to do with each of these words, is another way to build the patterns.
Smell is one of the most powerful cross-links which can make a word or a moment in our life stick strongly in memory.
The more pathways through many senses, the better.
Other times, a word will pass almost silently through our perception. That makes it less likely to stick. Sad, really.
Good luck with today’s word and all the others.


1 An illusion, apparition, or ghost.
1.1 archaic An illusory likeness of something.
Middle English (in the sense ‘deceptive appearance’): from Old French fantasme, via Latin from Greek phantasma, from phantazein ‘make visible’, from phainein ‘to show’. The change from f- to ph- in the 16th century was influenced by the Latin spelling.—†—†—†—†—†—

Is it somewhat odd that the “Holy Ghost” isn’t typically treated as a phantasm?


Some days, I cheat. I reuse or remix a previous image to illustrate the day’s word. This same image “graced” the word incorporeal on September 2, 2014 which is not included on the blog because the blog is a new presentation. The canonical location is the word of the day topic at the IBDoF forum, and I just linked to there a line or two up.
Then again, the etymology shown for today’s word indicates I’m not alone. The people who began spelling phantasm for use in English must have felt that the use of “ph” made the word more spooky and ancient than the simpler “f” as it had been used in French.


A sudden transition; a breach of continuity.

Mid 17th century: from Latin, literally ‘leap’.


Fred followed the flow of the novel for 100 pages, but completely lost track reading the next dozen because of the saltus on page 101.


Words relating to certain fields like this literary one pose a real challenge to illustrate. Since literary concepts are really “word” concepts, the best illustration is an example which shows how the term works in practice.

That just won’t work for the way I do these words of the day, of course. The challenge I pose for myself is a pictorial illustration, generally with a photo or with Inkscape, as in this case.

If you work with me, here, maybe you can see what the illustration tries to do. I’d love to hear your comments.


mass noun
(in martial arts) freestyle fighting.

Japanese, literally ‘sparring’.


Jun and Aki sparred at the dojo. Kumite was their favorite part of the day’s training.



A very large wine bottle, equivalent in capacity to sixteen regular bottles.

1930s: from Balthazar, the name of the king of Babylon, who ‘made a great feast … and drank wine before a thousand’ (Dan. 5:1).


Bob bought a bunch of basic bottles for the wedding party, but also splurged, ordering a balthazar from the vintner.


Being a non-drinker, I have no real interest in sniffing, sipping and swirling wines. I’m more interested in simply quenching my thirst. I do, therefore, approve of the idea of a big bottle. Though such a giant as the balthazar would not make for a portable potable.


(also bhikku)

A Buddhist monk or devotee.

Pali, from Sanskrit bhikṣú ‘beg’.

☯ ☯ ☯ ☯ ☯

Manu walked sedately along the path. It was just an ordinary village dirt path, but on it, he felt he could follow the bhikkhu‘s path as well.

monk walking


A devotee implies a dedication and a focus. The journey of a monk often starts young and it lasts a lifetime.



A large body of matter in orbit around the sun or a star and thought to be developing into a planet.

1940s: from proto- + planet.


Way out in the Oort cloud, there is probably enough matter to form a planet or two, but it is so far from the sun that gravity and rotation aren’t going to make it form into a protoplanet. An occasional comet may come inward from there. Besides, protoplanets happen much earlier in the formation of a star’s system. Our solar system is too sophisticated, “worldly” as they say, to play such juvenile games.

solar system


mass noun
1 The action of repeating something that has already been said or written.
count noun
1.1 archaic count noun A piece set by a teacher to be learned by heart and recited.
2 often with negative The recurrence of an action or event.
2.1 count noun A thing repeated.
2.2 count noun A training exercise which is repeated, especially a series of repeated raisings and lowerings of the weight in weight training.
2.3 Music The repeating of a passage or note.

Late Middle English: from Old French repeticion or Latin repetitio(n-), from repetere (see repeat).


Harry didn’t begrudge his colleagues for being loquacious. It was their repetition which brought him down. Every year, the stories told over drinks were the same ones. This year, he was sure he had recognized one of the actual conference presentations!

[The dictionary gave us loquacious today, but ghost used that word back in 2005, and we all know repetition is not allowed!]


We do, of course, repeat words all the time. Words like “the” are heard so frequently that we probably don’t consciously hear them. Still, it’s those gatherings when the same “stories” get told which grate upon us. Some families do it more than others. If you marry into a story-telling family, it can come as a shock, really a shockingly shocking shock!

(By the way, in the above imagined illustration, the driver completely ignored the repetition of signs and blew right through the corner. He was fortunate that the cross traffic was sparse.)

Thanks to all those who have served. You are appreciated 365 days a year.