C is for…

The Letter C

Welcome to the third letter of my Vocabulary Series. This week, along with my two chosen words, you will also get a special bonus word — one that I had never heard before, but is now on my list of favourites.

And once again, thank you to everyone who has sent in word suggestions. I’m excited to get to some of your choices and I hope you will continue to send along words you’d like to see profiled here. Now, without further ado, here is the first word for the letter C, which I chose because it sounds so much like the original Latin:

Concatenate (verb & adjective)

Etymology:  First appears around 1600. Comes from the Latin concatenare, meaning to link together, which is formed by joining con, meaning together, with catena, meaning chain.

Definition (verb):  To link things together in a chain or a series.

Definition (adjective):  Joined or linked.

Example (verb):  The witch doctor concatenated his shrunken head collection onto a chain.

Example (adjective):  The concatenated heads hung around the witch doctor’s neck.


My second word choice sounds nefarious and scientific, both of which are true of its definition (if, like me, you are made up of living cells), which makes it even better.

Cytotoxic (adjective)

Etymology:  First appears in 1902. Comes from combining cyto, which is a Latinized version of kytos, meaning a hollow, a receptacle, a basket (like the cell of a beehive) — with toxic, which comes from the Latin toxicum, which came from the Greek toxikon, both meaning poison. Typically, it referred to the poison that was used on arrows.

Definition:  Toxic (poisonous) to living cells.

Example:  A bite from a zombie is cytotoxic. Also, it really hurts.


And now, for your bonus word, which I stumbled upon while deciding on the two words above. Tell me this isn’t an absolute joy to say out loud (I won’t believe you even if you do).

Callibogus (noun)

Etymology:  First documented in the 1750s in Massachusetts, then in the 1770s in Newfoundland. Origins unknown.

Definition:  A maritime beverage made from spruce beer, rum, and molasses.

Example:  Callum’s homemade callibogus will burn your eyebrows clean off — but you’ll still come back for more!


Once again, etymological information and definitions come from the Oxford Dictionary of Etymological English, the Oxford Dictionaries Online and the Online Etymology Dictionary.


Image credit:  Google Images

13 thoughts on “C is for…

    1. See, that is something I did not know. I’ll have to check it out next time I open Excel.

      Also, the idea of you being forced to format spreadsheets makes me wonder if you were concatenated to your desk? 😉

  1. Is it just me, or does callibogus sound really delicious? (Maybe it helps if, like me, you live on the Atlantic coast.) Thanks for that!

      1. Sorry to say, I’ve never even heard of it before. Clearly it’s not in circulation, or I’m pretty sure I would have had the pleasure at some point.

  2. Whenever I hear “concatenate” I think of when I first heard it. I had just started at a company when they tossed me into a data mapping team. One of the programmers said, “so if the values are on multiple pages, we need to concatenate the strings, right.” My face must have reflected the blank space in my brain, because she explained it in Kindergarten terms for me 🙂

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