In honor of 2020, which seems to me to be a sort of perfection — as in perfect vision — we need to look at some big words that help us to be more perfect, as in perfectly well rounded.

Also, both of my word fans have clamored for another word column. Here tis:

You probably know pulchritudinous. Isn’t that pretty? It means absolutely beautiful.

Next, according to Merriam Webster’s latest list, is consanguineous, another long one, refers to blood. For a long time, consanguineous marriages were not allowed because of fear of inheriting bad things. Now we know they don’t come through blood, but through chromosomes.

Psycohotomimetic is a dandy. It is something, like LSD, that produces psychotic reactions. You can substitute psychedelic, if you like.

Here’s a really disgusting one. Its trichotillomania. It was coined by a French doctor to describe people who had an abnormal desire to pull out their hair.

I like the sound of this one, though the definition is sort of weird.

It’s omphaloskepsis. The oompah reminds me of a German band, but the definition is far from that. It’s the contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation. It may also be defined as inertia.

Myrmecophilous means fond of, associated with or benefited by ants. Now this one hit pretty close to home, but not in the way of fondness.

I have recently been plagued by ants. I first found them in my microwave, which was easy to handle. I zapped them and then swept out the little corpses.

Since then, I have found little corpses everywhere. The bug man came and treated, putting out poison which he said they are supposed to carry back to their outdoor nest. I am still sweeping up tiny corpses.

You may have heard of xnotransplantation, though you may not have known it by this name. This is a situation of transplanting organs from one species to another. Most trial transplants these days involve the organs of pigs, inserted in humans. And they are mostly ineffective.

Embourgeoisement is when workers adopting the outlook and behavior of the middle class. This involves an increased interest in seeing gradual, not revolutionary, changes in society.

Polyphiloprogenitive people are inclined to produce lots of offspring or have a love for offspring.

Tergiversation has a shorter definition: equivocation. This is not quite telling the truth. We hear a lot of that these days.

And finally, there is impedimenta. This is something that impedes. There are lots of things and lots of people whose purpose in life is to throw a roadblock in our plans.

Don’t you wish somebody had thrown an impediamenta into this whole production?

Cathy Gillentine is a Daily News columnist. She may be reached at

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(1) comment

Bailey Jones

Every so often I'll see an old photo of this -

From wiki -

"The International Pageant of Pulchritude, also known as Miss Universe or the International Beauty Contest, was a beauty contest that began in 1920, featuring contestants from multiple nations. This pageant originated the title "Miss Universe" and was the first international contest. The last pageant event in the United States was held in 1931 although additional Miss Universe events were held until 1935. This contest served as a model for modern contests that began after World War II.

The contest originated in Galveston, Texas, United States."

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