Wondrous Words Wednesday

By Lisa. Filed in Book Review  |  
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Happy Wednesday — it’s time for some new words! You know how this works – share a few words from your current book that you had to look up, then head over to Bermuda Onion’s Weblog to learn some new ones.

I wasn’t sure I was going to have time to post, as the trip to Sheffield has been keeping me pretty busy. (Also, my colleague seems determined to show me all of his favorite haunts. ) But I do have a few words this week from This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking:

1. Teleologically –  Belief in or the perception of purposeful development toward an end, as in nature or history

“In ancient Greece, Plato and Aristotle saw the world teleologically – rain falls because water wants to be lower than air; animals (and slaves) are naturally subservient to human citizens.”

2. Comity – An atmosphere of social harmony

“Squabbling colleagues or relatives agree to swallow their pride, take their losses, or lump it and enjoy the resulting comity rather than absorbing the costs of continual bickering…”

3. Proxemics – The study of the cultural, behavioral, and sociological aspects of spatial distances between individuals.

“To understand how our cosmopolitan and multigendered cities work, we need a proxemics of urban sexuality.”

There are probably going to be a few more words from this work, but this gives you a flavor. Some of the subject matter is dense, but the essays are short — some are less than a page — and flow well, one to the other, making for really fascinating reading.

What new words did YOU learn this week?


  1. Comment by bermudaonion (Kathy):

    Those are all new to me. I’m pretty sure I’m not teleological since I don’t really understand it even after reading the definition.

  2. Comment by Louise:

    I’ve heard teleologic before, but wouldn’t have been able to define it. The others are new for me too.

  3. Comment by Libby:

    This sounds like an interesting book, and all the words Are new to me! Glad you got a chance to break away for a little while and post this!

  4. Comment by Joy Weese Moll:

    I’ve used teleologically in academic papers, but I have to look it up every time to make sure I’m getting it right. I might have guessed proxemics from it being similar to proximity.

    This sounds like a fascinating book!

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