mass noun – rare
1 Triviality or frivolity.
1.1 count noun – A trivial or frivolous thing or idea.

Late 16th century: from late Latin nugacitas, from Latin nugax, nugac- ‘trifling, frivolous’.


At the world headquarters of “Word of the Day”, our days are filled with  sagacity and nugacity.


[Some of the crowd may recognize the game of Jacks, our frivolous pastime, but its popularity has sadly declined, and some of you might need it identified.]

Jacks was a common game for children in the 1950s when I was young along with pick-up-sticks and marbles. Now it is smartphone, smartphone smartphone.

Update: On the 9th, a day after doing this word, my son suggested I do a set of jacks with the 3D printer.


[with object]
Sterilize (a female animal) by removing the ovaries.

Late Middle English: shortening of Old French espeer ‘cut with a sword’, from espee ‘sword’, from Latin spatha (see spathe).


The couple took their cat to be spayed. They wanted to let her be an outdoor/indoor cat without the worry of kittens.



[with object]Psychology
1 Form an idea of; imagine or conceive.
1.1 no object Form ideas; think.

Late 17th century: from medieval Latin ideat- ‘formed as an idea’, from the verb ideare, from Latin idea (see idea).


I sincerely hope no group of educators will ideate that using this word is a good idea. Too many buzzwords as it is.


While recent conversations about education most often discuss the merits of standardized testing, there are attempts being made to help teachers keep a focus on techniques which will let children learn at the same time as the school districts push for higher test scores. There are a whole bunch of buzzwords which have entered the educator’s vocabulary. “Flipped Classroom”, STEM, and way too many others are current jargon. I regret reading them in conference fliers and blog posts.
I really hope educators will avoid “ideate”.


mass noun
Italian or Italian-style ice cream.
count noun ‘a cafe famous for its mouthwatering gelatos’



Tina told Terry she preferred gelato over ice cream. True ‘Murican that he is, Terry prefers ice cream.


Okay, the question remains, is it gelato or is it ice cream in the served cup?
Also, what flavor?
Are those things important for the illustration to make clear?
Not that it matters, but I’m a fan of ice cream. I’m not even sure I have ever had gelato. My son says the gelato he can get in Vancouver is the very best he’s had. I seriously doubt we’ll go there just for the gelato.


1 A brief summary or general survey of something.
1.1 An outline of the plot of a play, film, or book.

Early 17th century: via late Latin from Greek, from sun- ‘together’ + opsis ‘seeing’.


Carl carefully constructed a synopsis of the long blog post, knowing the habits of his readers. At the end of the summary, he added the abbreviation “TL;DR” — “too long; didn’t read” and wrote out the details.


The word “synopsis” had appeared four times before in the Word of the Day topic at IBDoF, but had never been the selected word of the day. That makes it fair game to use. The extra benefit is being able to add the TL;DR connection which the Internet has made popular. Blogs are technically not “long form” writing vehicles. Mastodon has a generic 500 character limit for its microblogging platform and Twitter infamously limits each post to 140 characters.

I wonder if conversion to PDF or EPUB ebook makes a document more likely to be read since it can be taken away from the computer screen to use it. There’s no doubt that I enjoy reading novels on my Nook ereader.

I hope that the synoptic image of a naked woman will not turn people away from continuing to enjoy these words. I was inspired by a similar, far better synoptic sketch by Picasso.


An ornamental flourish or curve, especially in handwriting.

Mid 19th century: perhaps a blend of squiggle and twirl or whirl.


Cal composed a card to his friend Robert. His copperplate script skills were mediocre and the squirls of his lettering were sloppy. Robert was still impressed when he got the Victorian Cosplay invitation.

I was able to find a free font to write the name  part of this illustration:  Snell Roundhand Script. The squirl style is also associated with the writing style known as Copperplate.

When I looked up squirl in Wikipedia, it redirected to Squirrel. Wikipedia is always expanding. Maybe it is time to research the idea a bit more and make an entry for squirl or add the term into the Copperplate or Round Hand articles.

Back when I was teaching middle school science, I came across a note that told me the colonists occasionally used the juice from a plant called pokeweed to make passable ink. I had an art pen, the kind with a metal nib, so I demoed the ink from some squashed berries for my students. The nib pen didn’t give me the ability to create round hand flourishes, of course, but it was another thing to become a fond teaching memory. Adding a bit of oxalic acid stabilized the berry ink, too so I could keep a bottle of it so students could try it over the next several weeks. If you are interested, pokeweed berries are out there this time of year.



1 A medicinal substance taken to give a feeling of vigour or well-being.
1.1 Something with an invigorating effect.
2 short for tonic water
3 Music – The first note in a scale which, in conventional harmony, provides the keynote of a piece of music.
1 Giving a feeling of vigour or well-being; invigorating.
2 Music – Relating to or denoting the first degree of a scale.
3 Phonetics – Denoting or relating to the syllable within a tone group that has greatest prominence, because it carries the main change of pitch.
4 Relating to or restoring normal tone to muscles or other organs.
4.1 Physiology Relating to, denoting, or producing continuous muscular contraction.

Mid 17th century: from French tonique, from Greek tonikos ‘of or for stretching’, from tonos (see tone).


Louie was laconic
After Halloween demonic.
To raise up his and other spirits
He decided to take a tonic.


We are approaching my seventh anniversary, on November 14. of finding and submitting the word of the day at IBDoF. E.P.S. was doing the words after ghost stopped, but E.P.S. was planning the upgrade to Windows 7 and expected that he would need to stop. I took up the challenge with the word Linux.

Adding my own illustrations happened later.

Today’s illustration pleases me. Some are more satisfying than others. Completing a good one, is a tonic for me.


mass noun – Medicine
1 The action of draining a person, animal, or organ of blood.
1.1 Severe loss of blood.

Early 20th century: from Latin exsanguinatus ‘drained of blood’ (from ex- ‘out’ + sanguis, sanguin- ‘blood’) + -ion.


The former leader exsanguinated as a result of his injuries, but otherwise it was considered a bloodless coup. The members of the bridge club didn’t pause their play when Marge came in with the news.

Some illustrations are better than others. I’m not very proud of this one, and I do wonder if it is difficult for some to look at, because of it’s subject matter. Maybe I can get away with it because it isn’t a very good illustration.


A crustacean of the order Isopoda, such as a woodlouse.


The little pill bug rolled itself into a safe ball when Johnny picked it up off the fall leaf. He didn’t know it was an isopod until he studied invertebrates in college.


Pill bugs and other similar isopods can be easily found in fallen leaves and rotting logs in the woods or even back yards. They are one of the “bugs” which kids typically get to know by sight, though they may not learn much about them until they study invertebrate zoology. Sadly, by then, some of the pure fun of seeing the critters in nature has been forgotten.


1A luminous halo round a shadow projected by the sun on to a cloud or fog bank.
1.1 A parhelion seen opposite the sun in the sky.

Late 17th century: from Greek anthēlion, neuter of anthēlios ‘opposite to the sun’, from anth- (variant of anti- ‘against’) + hēlios ‘sun’.


The ant’s shadow was spectacular against the fog bank. The anthelion made it look like the Batman beacon.



Many of my word interactions build on the sound I hear when reading the word. Anthelion naturally brought ant to mind as opposed to anti- for being in opposition to the sun. So the view of an ant shadowed against the fog came pretty quickly to mind for both the example sentence and the illustration.