2013 in a Vocabulary Nutshell


What a year 2013 has been! My network has expanded to include some terrific people, some of whom I met through the blogosphere and others through work and volunteering. I have also been lucky enough to work with some amazing clients who are doing interesting and important work here in Canada and around the world. In addition, I was bestowed with the great honour of becoming the Managing Editor of the Speakeasy creative writing challenge over at the yeah write blogging community.

So it’s been a good year. And, just like I did last year, I’d like to sum up 2013 with a list of my ten favourite words from the year. These words appeared in documents that I edited or in something that I wrote, either for work or pleasure.

1.  Amalgamation (noun): the action, process, or result of combining or uniting several things into one structure or organization.

  • The ghouls felt they’d been short-changed by the Undead Amalgamation of 2313, but the zombies had never been happier.

2.  Backcasting (verb): A strategic planning method where a successful future is envisioned first (beginning with the end in mind). It comes from the fishing term backcast, which refers to the backward swing of a fishing line before casting.

  • If the ghouls had completed the pre-amalgamation backcasting exercise perhaps they wouldn’t be so disgruntled.

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

  • The first thing Griswold noticed about Gertrude was the speed with which she concatenated shrunken heads onto belts.

4.  Deep-rooted (adjective): Firmly embedded in thought, behaviour, or culture, and so having a persistent influence.

  • The knowledge that they shared a deep-rooted fear of sunshine and daisies brought the mutant couple even closer.

5.  Governance (noun): the action or manner of governing a state, organization, etc.

  • Many citizens of the Undead Megacity felt that good governance required a greater influx of brains.

6.  Kenning (noun): a compound expression in Old English and Old Norse poetry with metaphorical meaning.

  • Although it didn’t have the same elegance as the Old Norse blood-ember, Zoltan the Zombie Slayer liked to use the kenning death-stick to describe his axe.

7.  Lateral violence (noun): Displaced violence directed against one’s peers and community members rather than one’s true adversaries. Lateral violence often occurs within marginalized groups where members strike out at each other as a result of being oppressed.

  • The ongoing disenfranchisement among the ghouls was resulting in lateral violence, which included cutting down one’s neighbours, both literally and figuratively.

8.  Macerate (verb): To soften or become softened by soaking in a liquid (generally in relation to food).

  • Meanwhile, in the wealthy zombie neighbourhoods, the latest trend was to macerate brains in red wine before serving them.

9.  Sustainable (adjective): Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level; able to be upheld or defended; able to conserve an ecological balance by avoiding the depletion of natural resources.

  • Given the dwindling number of edible brains in the Megacity, the zombies’ newfangled lifestyle was not sustainable.

10.  Wendigo (also windigo) (noun): A cannibalistic giant; a person who has been transformed into a monster by the consumption of human flesh. Comes from the folklore of the Northern Algonquian people.

  • Having become so caught up in their own importance, the zombies didn’t notice the scale of the wendigo uprising until it was far too late.

So there’s my list for 2013. But how about you? What was your favourite word of 2013?


Linking up with this weekend’s Moonshine Grid over at yeah write.


Image credit: saied shahinkiya / PhotoXpress.com


16 thoughts on “2013 in a Vocabulary Nutshell

  1. As a word junkie on twitter … that was a hard thing for me to state.
    A word that came up in a word-game I play is susurrus (a soft murmuring or rustling sound; whisper) .. probably wouldn’t go well with ghouls or zombies.. maybe with ghosts

    The susurrus of undead souls lingered like mist between the withered tombstones.

    Happy New year and more great writing.

  2. I can’t believe that twerk didn’t make your list!

    The zombies are going to twerk their way through the apocalypse wearing bloody unitards.

    I stumble upon intriguing new words all the time, but I rarely write them down. You’ve inspired me to approach 2014 with a word notebook.

    1. I try to stick to words I come across in my work or through my writing. Amazingly, none of my clients used twerk this year! 😉 And if I had put it on the list I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of reading your example sentence, which is visually disturbing and pretty awesome!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting – I’m thrilled to hear that I’ve inspired you! 🙂

  3. I should think if I discovered my significant other was into concatenating shrunken heads, that would be a pretty big relationship issue. But then, I’m not Griswold; as the saying goes, the heart wants what the heart wants. (which, in this context, might turn out to be scarily literal). Also I hadn’t heard of wendigos before. 0_o.

  4. There are so many amazing words, I don’t know how you narrowed it down to ten 🙂

    Every time I see “concatenate” I remember when it came up in a conversation with a computer programmer and I felt so dumb for having no idea what it meant. I wish I could’ve played it off and looked up the word later, but my facial expressions immediately broadcast my thoughts without my permission. Seeing my obvious confusion, she kindly explained what it meant.

    1. I’m not sure how I did it either!

      I wouldn’t feel too bad – concatenate isn’t exactly a common word. Someone used it (correctly) at a holiday lunch meeting a couple of weeks ago and I was amazed and impressed.

  5. adimpleate — to fill up

    The zombies weren’t the only undead to adimpleate their pantries with wine-pickled brains; the wendigos joined them in the practice.

    Or something like that… 🙂

    1. I love being a part of the Speakeasy! It doesn’t hurt that I get to work with some pretty awesome people. 🙂

      And I love learning new words, so I hope it was fun for you too.

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