30 day challenge: learn 30 new words

For the record, here’s the words I ended up learning this month:

ana: the collection of memorable sayings, writings, or other information of an interesting person.
brumous: misty, foggy
capax: legally competent
daggle: to soil by dragging in the mud
deosculate: to kiss affectionately
dorty: bad-tempered
ensky: to make immortal
eoan: related to the dawn or the east
foss: ditch or canal; an artificial stream
gurry: diarrhea
hwyl: an emotional outburst of eloquence (Welsh)
incondite: crude, unfinished
jehu: someone who loves to drive. a fast driver
kalon: the kind of beauty that is more than skin deep
leal: faithful, loyal, true. Correct, accurate, real. Legal, lawful, just.
lusk: a lazy person
milpita: a little cornfield
nixie: a letter so badly addressed it can’t be delivered
ort: a leftover tidbit
pukka: real, authentic. Superior.
queme: pleasant, agreeable, suitable
rudas: an ugly foul-mouthed old hag
sipid: tasty, flavorful
tiffin: a snack or light lunch
udometer: a rain gauge
vega: a fertile meadow
verbophobia: fear and dislike of words
wanion: a plague. A vengeance
xenium: a present given to a guest
yex: hiccup, cough
zimme: a gem

Also: Happy New Year, everyone!

42 Responses to 30 day challenge: learn 30 new words (Leave a comment)

  1. new words in form of ABC..Z
    didn’t knew many of them thanks for share
    Happy New Year
    One question though? When will google updating its PR (Google Page Rank) its quite long last update is in April 2010..

  2. LOL: laughing out loud copyright 2010 moondog, lol

  3. Hey Matt

    daggle: to soil by dragging in the mud

    Daggle — Danny Sullivan’s Personal Blog http://daggle.com/ 🙂

  4. Matt, way cool. Love it:-)
    Tell me more about the challenge – do you plan to do 30 more the first 30 days of 2011?

    As a language student I’d be happy to participate – even if in my (mother tongue).

  5. My cogitative function is rather brumous and I feel like a lusk today. For last night I was at a New Year’s eve party and a rudas had a dorty hwyl when I spilled a sipid drink on her big ana (no offense intended). She subsequently daggled me and impaled me with a pukka 17th century candle stick, someone had given her as a xenium. Her continuous epithets seemed to flow like gurry of the mouth. So I escaped. Stumbling home though a milpita where I meet other travelers of the night on similar misadventures. I hailed a wayward jedi jedu cab driver. On New Years day, I woke up in a vega in front of my house, as a dorty with a yex, but alive. But not for the reasons my neighbors imagined. I think I will take a day off blogging.

    Matt, people say that computer-generated content (CGC) is the future and will be indistinguishable from human content. I do not believe it 100%. Maybe for news stories. But to assemble words in a sentence is something very different from using creativity to tickle ones imagination with those same words, or to convey personal experiences.

    I hope 2011 is a meaningful year for you in terms of personal growth and challenges.

  6. I knew some of them already but really tough to remember all…i ‘m trying for all
    Happy New Year -Matt

  7. This seems an interesting exercise, however a little out of context. I’m not sure that you would use any of these words in your lifetime. The one exception would be pukka, but even that is only used in conjunction with “sahib”, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pukka_sahib. Maybe something like “less known words sorted in descending order by popularity” would be more useful to study.

    An other gripe of mine is that words without a context are not very useful. Words are useful only as far as they have a more-or-less agreed upon shared meaning and some dry definitions don’t convey that (again, coming back to pukka – I suspect that in some former British colonies it might have a negative connotation…)

    But lets not end this comment on a down note: happy new year from Europe!

  8. Happy New Year!

    Hmm, I’ve heard of nixie before which is good I guess. Oh, and I misread ‘gurry’: I thought it read “Curry: diarrhea” which would have made sense!

  9. Happy New Year!
    I think It’s time to do something in 30 days 🙂

  10. Hi Matt,
    A very Happy New Year to you and to your family…

  11. Very good list. I hear that if you use the word 3 times in one day its yours 🙂

    It is interesting how a new word can stick with you sometimes. For some reason I remember Anthropomorphism from high school – (giving human traits to animals)

  12. Happy New Year, Matt!
    That sounds cruel. It reminds me of the darkest days in school, learning the english language. But they sound much trickier than the stuff our teacher presented to us.
    Greetings from germany,
    Klaus Sap Langner

  13. Wow. So in 2011, I’ll try not to be an incondite, dorty lusk with a wicked case of gurry and instead be more of a queme, sipid kalon that people will view as a kind of a zimme.

    That was harder than I thought! Are you sure you didn’t just make these words up?? Chrome’s telling me they’re all misspelled….that would make me look really stupid, Matt.

  14. 2011 and i am feeling a bit lusky 😛

  15. Hey Matt,

    I think the word pukka is a cockney phrase used by those who live in London and Essex! In northern England we have Pukka Pies, when you come make sure you try one!

  16. My turn!


    Opening up my big mouth is often like deosculating my tiffin gurry.

  17. Hmmm… I thought “ana” was a slang/colloquial term for Anorexia Nervosa. :/
    Live and learn. Happy new year everyone…


  18. So this is definitely going to make you the man to beat at Scrabble, Matt! At first glance my thought was – are these English words? Yeap, obscure but hiding in our dictionary. Great fun! Happy New Year!

  19. …i missed instead of verbophobia seophobia ;o)

  20. Do you know “limerence”? That’s a good one.


  21. sir i read your post often interesting challenges you did nice read those post

    Happy new year sir…:)

    Waiting for more challenges

  22. Themz are some wikkid werds, for sure.

    Think you will still “know” them 30 days from now?

  23. “deosculate: to kiss affectionately” – this really doesn’t sound like it should mean what it means. Rather, it sounds more like something to do with the use of the executioner’s axe. It’s weird, but I shall use it whenever I can!

    Happy New Year to you too.

  24. Happy new years Matt,
    Yes great Idea starting the new years off fresh and learning new words as it gives a great starting point you can easily reflect back on in the future.
    How about learning a new language? Let me know if you need help with that I own a language school, btw.
    This makes great stimulation, kind of like a workout for your brain.
    Best wishes for 2011

  25. Hi Matt,
    I love the idea of learning a word a day. Only thing is most people won’t know what we’re talking about! Years ago I found “propinquity” – a very useful word. However nine times out of ten when I use it I have to explain as well! What to do what to do!
    Happy 2011!

  26. Cool list of words Matt but who uses these words?

    I reckon if enough people use a word it will be adopted into the Dictionary. Did that happen with “Googling”?

    Best wishes for 2011 everyone.

  27. I decided to make a sentence with the words you listed:

    I am jehu. My friends think I should slow down and that I am a rudas. I tell that, that I am a pukka man and I have the heart of a kalon. I am leal and I don’t care if anyone thinks I am a lusk. There is no reason to be dorty just because you have verbophobia. You are not a wanion, they want you to feel capax and fill your mind with gurry!!

  28. I’m curious what your system is for memorization. Do you employ any special mnemonic to help you remember these words? Or is it just rote? I read part of a pretty sweet book once called The Art of Memory about the history of memory and how some of the ancient orators used to organize their memories. It was fascinating!

  29. Very enjoyable post! Winston Churchill used to read the dictionary for fun and learn a new work every day. If only I had the motivation.

  30. A small little griffin
    called me to tiffin,

    But I ate too much curry
    and now I have gurry.

  31. Best insult line that will have them in SMH mode : Me and your mom had a great deosculation session last night.

  32. Hi Matt,

    I know your 30 day challenge posts get a lot of comments and interest, but I think that you are impacting people’s lives in a very positive way. Personally, I read about your no sugar challenge back in April of last year, and after thinking about it for a while (planning actually) I began a 30 day challenge of no sugar for myself. Sugar addiction is something I’ve struggled with my whole life-I’m a skinny girl, but I once went to Mrs Fields for lunch and ordered myself one of those jumbo birthday cookies, demanded that it be completely covered in frosting, and then sat right down on a mall bench and ate the whole thing. The 30 day challenge was such a success, such a personal victory over something I’ve struggled with for years (I’ve tried acupuncture for it as well) that I decided to implement the no sugar rule in my life permanently. It’s been since June 2010, and I’m still going strong, although it does continue to be a daily struggle when I’m at the grocery store (the baked goods section taunts me). Anyways, I just wanted to thank you for having such a positive impact on my life. I will continue to check in here every once and while, just to let you know I’m still achieving a goal that YOU helped me set for myself.

  33. I like the word incondite, as it reminds me what I have to do or what’s still in the pipe and needs work. But, I never heard zimme, gem is much nicer. What about ‘ankle biter’, haha. Just love it and it makes me laughing. Is aussie slang and means a small child.:)

  34. Hi Matt,
    thank you for this great idea! We talked about your approach in our blog (illywords.com/2011/03/a-30-days-challenge-mr-matt-cuts-inspires/)
    After long brainstorming I decided that my personal 30 day challenge is to read (and interiorise!!) the marvellous book “The tibetan book of living and dying” of Sogyal Rinpoche. A great essay, a philosophical and practical guide for life!
    Could be an idea for one of your next challenges, too.
    Ciao! Manuela

  35. Interesting Matt. I am all for expanding vocabulary. Concern might be that if you tried to use any of the words in an actual conversation most would think that you are being pedantic (of course they would not think that word because they likely would not know what it means). Might as well learn Kleon since most people will believe you are speaking another language. Alternatively, if a bunch of people educate themselves on these words than you can form an exclusive club and have your own language (advanced English) that almost no one understands.

  36. I just wondered if you understood the Biblical significance of the word “Jehu”? I did not know that it was anything other than the name of an ancient Israelite…until I saw your list. Thank you enlightening me. (By the way, Jehu was the one who had Jezebel destroyed.)

  37. Words with friends really ticked me off until I began to learn all the stupid two letter words that everybody seemed to use against me. For example: What the heck is QI? Whatever it means, it sure gets me a lot of points when played right. So if you really want to up your game in scrabble, you should learn all those crazy two letter words.

  38. hi matt,
    i hope you are enjoying your time in yosemite. i decided to post a comment here given your recent email effort 🙂
    my husband and i recently watched your 30 days ted talk and (i am sure like many others) were inspired to do it ourselves. we are loving it so far and hoping to help spread the message. we’d love to meet with you and get your thoughts on some of the ideas we have.
    look forward to hearing from you,
    p.s. safe hiking!

  39. Dear sir,
    tiffin: a snack or light lunch !

    Your New Words This Morning Full tiffin to me

  40. Who’s a proper little social media utiliser, eh?! Old post brought to life with a timely Tweet. Anyone would think you’re some sort of web expert after extra traffic!

    But it was useful – I shall henceforth use ‘jehu’ at every possible opportunity in my daily witterings.

  41. Hey Matt,
    I have noted all your new words and will try to use them in my daily life.All of them are new to me except some words.Thanks a ton for share 🙂