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gaijin: n. - (Japanese) a foreigner in Japan (some Westerners consider this an insult, but most Japanese do not intend it to be insulting); literally, "outside person": gaikokujin
gaikokujin: n. - (Japanese) foreigners or people not of Japanese nationality, whether they are inside Japan or not; literally, "outside (of the) country person": gaijin
galiphobia: n. - fear of France or French culture: francophobia, gallophobia
gallimaufry: n. - an absurd jumble of various things or people: hash, hodgepodge, hotchpotch, jumble, medley, mixture, potpourri
gallophobia: n. - fear of France or French culture: francophobia, galiphobia
gambit: n. - (Chess) a move, usually early in the game, in which the player sacrifices minor pieces in order to gain a stronger or better position on the board
gaminerie: n. - an impudent or wisecracking attitude: childishness, playfulness
gamma ray: n. - a stream of high-energy photons (electromagnetic radiation) found in: 1) regular atomic decay (radioactivity), 2) particle-antiparticle annihilation, and 3) cosmic radiation emitted from pulsars, quasars, supernova explosions, and radio galaxies. (Cosmic gamma rays cannot reach the Earth due to the protection of the atmosphere and, therefore, were not observed until pictures began to be recorded in space). Although similar to x-rays, gamma rays are typically higher in energy, frequency, and penetration, and shorter in wavelength. (One exception to this is high-energy X-rays produced by linear accelerators or astrophysical processes, which often have higher energy than gamma rays produced by radioactive gamma decay.) Also, X-rays are emitted by electrons outside the nucleus, while gamma rays are specifically emitted by the nucleus. Because of their high penetration, gamma rays are best shielded against using dense materials, such as lead or depleted uranium
gamma-ray burst (GRB): n. - (Astronomy) an intense beam of gamma radiation originating in distant galaxies and lasting between a fraction of a second to several minutes. Gamma-ray bursts are known to be emitted from two cosmic events: 1) from the core-collapse supernova of a rapidly rotating, super-massive star, and 2) from the merging of two neutron stars. The explosions are extremely energetic (typically releasing as much energy in a few seconds as the Sun will in its lifetime of 10 billion years) and extremely rare (a few per galaxy every million years)
gangrene: n. - the death and decay of localized body tissue, often occurring in a limb, caused by insufficient blood supply or bacterial infection and usually following injury or disease: necrotic tissue, slough, sphacelus
garner: n. (see also v.) - 1. a storehouse for threshed grain or animal feed: grain bin, granary 2. a store or supply of something: accumulation, collection
garrote: n. (see also v.) - 1. a method of execution formerly practiced in Spain, in which a tightened iron collar (also called a garrote) is used to strangle or break the neck of a condemned person 2. strangulation, especially in order to rob 3. a cord or wire used for strangling
gastriloquist: n. - one who appears to speak from his stomach or is able to throw her voice: ventriloquist
gastronome: n. - a connoisseur of good food and drink
gelding: n. - a castrated male horse
geliophobia: n. - fear of laughter
Gemara: n. - (Judaism) the second part of the Talmud, forming a set of rabbinical commentaries and analysis on the first part of the Talmud, the Mishnah. There are two versions: the Babylonian version called Bavli (written in East Aramaic), and the Palestinian version called Yerushalmi (written in West Aramaic); literally, "learning" or "completion" [see also: Mishnah]
gendarme: n. - 1. a member of the French national police organization constituting a branch of the armed forces with responsibility for general law enforcement 2. a police officer in France and French-speaking countries 3. a pinnacle, isolated rock tower, or other steep-sided rock formation along a ridge (metaphorically "guarding" the summit) 4. salted and smoked herring
geniophobia: n. - fear of chins
gentamicin: n. - an antibiotic that is derived from an actinomycete; used in treating infections of the urinary tract
gentrification: n. (see also v.) - the process by which stores, houses, and other buildings in run-down neighborhoods are bought and improved by middle class or wealthy people, most often causing the displacement of small businesses and the homelessness of poor people due to rising rent costs
genuphobia: n. - fear of knees
geriatrics: n. - the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and problems specific to people of old age (such as in their eighties or older)
gerontophobia: n. - 1. fear of old persons 2. fear of aging or growing old
gest: n. - 1. a tale of adventures, especially a romance in verse 2. a notable adventure or exploit
gewgaw: n. - a showy trifle: bauble, gimcrack, novelty, trinket
gherkin: n. - a small or immature cucumber, especially one used for pickling
gimcrack: n. (see also adj.) - a cheap and showy object of little or no use: bauble, gewgaw, novelty, toy, trifle, trinket
glacis: n. - 1. a gentle slope or incline, especially one that is not very long or steep 2. a neutral area separating conflicting forces: neutral zone 3. (Military) an artificial slope of earth in front of a fortification, designed to make it easier to fire on attacking forces until the last possible moment: defensive slope
glasnost: n. - (Russian) an official policy change in the former Soviet government (headed by Mikhail Gorbachev), beginning in 1985. Glasnost loosened government control on all aspects of life, emphasized open discussion in regard to social problems and shortcomings, allowed criticism of government policies, and encouraged freer distribution of news and information; literally, "publicity" or "openness"
glaucoma: n. - a disease of the eye marked by increased pressure (or hardening) within the eyeball that can result in damage to the optic disk (where the optic nerve meets the retina) and gradual loss of vision
gloaming: n. - the fall of evening: dusk, twilight
glockenspiel: n. - a percussion instrument consisting of a set of graduated metal bars mounted on a frame and played with small hammers
glossolalia: n. - 1. the phenomenon of someone speaking in an unknown or unintelligible language, usually occurring during a state of ecstasy at a religious worship and regarded as a gift of the Holy Spirit: the gift of tongues, speaking in tongues, xenoglossia 2. fabricated and non-meaningful speech, especially when associated with a trance state or certain schizophrenic syndromes
glurge: n. - a sentimental, sappy or moralistically uplifting story spread through e-mail that uses inaccurate or fabricated facts to inspire readers and tug at their heartstrings. Besides dramatically improbable stories, such stories feature moralistic undertones so heavy with sweetness they could give your eyeballs diabetes. (This term was coined by Patricia Chapin of the urban legend fact-checking website It was designed to imitate the sound of gagging or retching, which she felt like doing when reading such material.) {examples}
gnomon: n. - 1. an object that by the position or length of its shadow serves as an indicator, especially the stationary arm on a sundial whose shadow indicates the time (usually oriented so that it points north and is parallel to the axis of the Earth) 2. a column or shaft erected perpendicular to the horizon 3. (Geometry) a plane figure formed by removing a parallelogram from a corner of a larger parallelogram (resembles an "L" or a slanted "L") {image}
gnosiophobia: n. - fear of knowledge: epistemophobia
gnosis: n. - secret, intuitive knowledge of spiritual mysteries or spiritual truths ("knowledge of the heart" or "insight" about the spiritual nature of the cosmos) held by the ancient Gnostics to be essential to salvation
Gnosticism: n. - 1. an ancient pagan, Jewish, and early Christian religious movement (considered heretical) teaching that salvation comes by gaining insight into secret spiritual knowledge (known as gnosis) of the Supreme Father who created the "good" spirit world. This knowledge frees humanity from the evil material world created by the Demiurge (Jehovah of the Bible). Many Gnostic sects were the victims of genocide by the early Christian Church 2. the doctrine of salvation by knowledge
Go: n. - a Chinese board game played with black and white stones on a surface marked with 19 lines intersecting each other to create 361 crossing points. The object of the game is to capture the opponent�s stones and to control a larger portion of the board {image}
gobbet: n. - 1. a lump, chunk, or mouthful, especially of raw meat: bit, fragment, mass, morsel, piece 2. a small amount of liquid; a drop 3. an extract from a text or from an image, especially one chosen for analysis, translation or discussion: excerpt
golconda: n. - 1. (Capitalized) the capital of the Qutb Shahi kingdom in southern India in the 16th century, home to one of the most powerful Muslim sultanates in the region and the center of a flourishing diamond trade 2. a source of great wealth, especially a rich mine
golden parachute: n. - a generous severance agreement for an executive in the event of a sudden dismissal (as because of a merger)
gonzo journalism: n. - a style of journalism which rejects the traditional rules of factual reportage in favor of a novelistic twist involving exaggeration and a high degree of subjectivity. Usual standards of accuracy are less important than catching the mood of a place or event, and the reporter's perspective becomes a central element of the story reporting
googol: n. - the number 10100, written as 1 followed by 100 zeros (according to Webster's Dictionary, the name was coined in 1938 by Milton Sirotta, the nine-year-old nephew of American mathematician, Edward Kasner)
gossypiboma: n. - a surgical sponge accidentally left inside a patient's body
gourmand: n. - one who eats to excess; a lover of good food
goyim: n. - (Judaism) people who are not Jewish. Though it can be used as an insult (especially by Jews decrying the lack of religious commitment in other Jews), it should be noted that claims by anti-semites that most Jews consider non-Jews inferior, or that this word's literal translation is "cattle," are utterly false. The literal translation is actually "nation" or "people," and early in the Bible the term is used in reference to the Hebrew people themselves. Later it more often refers to other nations: gentiles, non-Jews
graft: n. (see also v.) - 1. (Surgery) a piece of living tissue or organ that is transplanted surgically to replace the patient's diseased or damaged tissue. The healthy tissue may come either from a donor or from another part of the patient's body: implant, transplant 2. (Botany) a shoot or bud of one plant that is inserted into or joined to the stem, branch, or root of another plant so that the two grow together as a single plant. (For example, grafting a branch from an apple tree onto a pear tree.) Grafts are used to strengthen or repair plants, create dwarf trees, produce seedless fruit, and increase fruit yields without requiring plants to mature from seeds 3. the process of joining one thing to another 4. the practice of offering something (often money) to someone in a position of power in order to gain an illegal or unfair advantage: bribery 5. money or other benefits obtained illegally by taking advantage of high position or office 6. (British) hard work
grand jury: n. - (U.S. Law) a jury called to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to justify holding a trial. If there is enough evidence to formally charge the suspect or suspects with a crime, an indictment is issued. A grand jury is made up of 12 to 23 persons who are chosen at random, but who typically serve a term of a year, during which they regularly hear evidence brought by a prosecutor. Unlike petit juries, grand juries meet in secret, are not required to reach unanimous decisions, and do not decide on a person's guilt--they only decide whether the person should stand trial
grapeshot: n. - a cluster of small projectiles fired together from a cannon to produce a hail of shot
graphology: n. - 1. the study of handwriting, especially to understand the writer's personality, character, or emotions 2. (Linguistics) the study of writing systems and their relationship to the sound systems of languages
graphophobia: n. - fear of handwriting
grapnel: n. - an iron rod with at least three hooks or claws at one end and a rope at the other. Originally, it was used in naval warfare to catch and hold an enemy ship so that it could be held alongside and boarded. Such an anchor could also be used as an anchor for small boats, as a day anchor during temporary stops, and to drag the water's bottom hoping to snag lost equipment. Grapnels are now also used in rescue work and to assist in climbing walls: fastener, grappling hook, grappling iron, light anchor, mooring {image: 1, 2, 3}
gravamen: n. - the material or significant part of a grievance or complaint
grave site: n. - slang for an abandoned Web site that is still accessible to Internet users
gravitas: n. - high seriousness (as in a person's bearing or in the treatment of a subject)
greasy spoon: n. - a small restaurant or diner known for its inexpensive, greasy food (often fried food) and its dirty or unsanitary appearance
Greenwich Mean Time: n. - the local time at the 0� longitudinal line (the prime meridian, which passes through Greenwich, England), used as the international standard for calculating the time in other zones: Universal Time, Zulu Time
Gresham's Law: n. - 1. (Economics) the argument that when two kinds of money are in circulation, the money made of higher value material (such as gold or silver) will be hoarded and the money made of lower value material (such as copper or paper) will circulate more freely. Eventually, the superior money will be driven out of circulation by the inferior money. For example, if a government had both silver coins and paper money in circulation, the public might hoard the silver coins (possibly for sale once the price of silver goes up, causing the metal the coin is made of to be worth more than the amount engraved on the coin) and use only the paper money in their daily transactions. Though the idea is credited to 16th century English financier Sir Thomas Gresham, financial advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, it was put forward by many people before him (including Nicolaus Copernicus 40 years earlier and Aristophanes in the 5th century BCE) 2. the tendency for relatively low quality products or practices to drive out higher quality products or practices
groundling: n. - 1. a spectator who stood in the pit of an Elizabethan theater 2. a person of unsophisticated taste 3. one that lives or works on or near the ground
guile: n. [see also: beguile (v.) & beguiling (adj.)] - dishonesty in attaining a goal: craftiness, cunning, deceitfulness, duplicity, treachery, trickery
gum acacia: n. - a sticky, water-soluble gum obtained from acacia plants, especially A. senegal and A. arabic, used as a thickener in inks, paints, medicines, glues, cosmetics, and candies: gum arabic
gum arabic: n. - [see: gum acacia]
gust: n. - 1. a strong, abrupt blast of wind 2. any rush or outburst (such as a blast of water or a rush of emotion): surge 3. (archaic) exquisite delight or enthusiasm: happiness, gusto, joy, relish
gymkhana: n. - a meet featuring sports contests; especially, a contest of automobile-driving skills
gynandromorph: n. - (Biology) an individual creature (especially an insect) having both male and female characteristics, such as male and female tissues or sex organs. Sometimes, one half of the body is male while the other half is female -- which is particularly noticeable when it occurs in species in which the sexes are differently coloured: hermaphrodite {for the butterfly species Papilio androgeus: female, male, gynandromorph; gynandromorph chicken; NPR article with explanation and more photos}
gynophobia: n. - fear of women
habeas corpus: n. - (Law) (Latin) a writ (court order) requiring that a prisoner be brought to the court in order to determine whether or not that person has been imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he or she should be released from custody. Habeas corpus guarantees an individual's right to know why they have been put in jail, and the right to be present in court to defend themselves. Without this protection an imprisoned person could be held indefinitely by the state without ever being charged with a crime or brought before a jury; literally, "you must have the body (in court)": the Great Writ
habitakle: n. - a dwelling place: domicile, home, house, living quarters, residence, shelter
habromania: n. - insanity marked by a strong impulse toward happiness or cheerful delusions; extreme euphoria
Hadith: n. - (Islam) a narration about the traditions, sayings, teachings, and stories of the prophet Muhammad and his companions (collected after his death), accepted as a source of Islamic doctrine and law second only to the Qur'an. It instructs the normative way of life for Muslims. The Hadith includes what Muhammad said (qawl), what he did (fi'l), and what he approved (taqrir) in others' actions; literally, "traditions": Sunna
hadron: n. - (Quantum Physics) any subatomic particle composed of two or more quarks or antiquarks and capable of taking part in the strong nuclear interaction (which holds together the nucleus of an atom). Examples include protons, neutrons, pions, and kaons. Electrons and other elementary particles not made of multiple quarks are not hadrons
hafiz: n. - (Islam) 1. a title of respect which recognizes someone who has memorized the entire Qur'an. Thousands of Muslim men and women throughout the world dedicate their time and energy to this tradition, which would maintain perfect preservation of the Qur'anic scripture as it was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over 1,400 years ago, even if every copy of the Qur'an were destroyed; literally, "guardian," "retainer," or "custodian" 2. (Capitalized) the pen name of a Persian poet from the 14th century named Shams al-Din Muhammad. His sensuous rhyming couplets, many of which concern love, wine, and nature, are traditionally interpreted allegorically by Sufi Muslims
Hajj: n. - (Islam) a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia which every Muslim is expected to perform at least once during their lifetime, if they are physically and financially able. Also exempted are insane people, slaves, and women that are without proper travelling company (close male relative or husband). Another part of the ritual is circling the large, granite cube known as the Ka'bah seven times in a counterclockwise direction. The Hajj rites symbolically reenact the trials and sacrifices of Prophet Abraham, his wife Hajar, and their son Isma'il over 4,000 years ago. The pilgrimage also commemorates Muhammad's act of completing the Hajj. This is performed annually by over two million people during the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Dhu Al-Hijjah. It is the fifth pillar of Islam {image}
halberd: n. - a two-handed pole weapon of the 15th and 16th centuries having an axlike blade and a steel spike mounted on the end of a long shaft (this is still the ceremonial weapon of the Swiss Guard in the Vatican) {image}
hamartophobia: n. - fear of sin
Hanukkah: n. - (Judaism) an 8 day feast of dedication beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev (typically December). It celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C. after it was defiled by being used for the worship of Greek gods under Antiochus Epiphanes (c. 215-164 B.C.). It also commemorates a miracle in the Temple, when one-day's worth of oil lasted 8 days. Originally a minor Jewish holy day, it has become more important in recent years due to it's proximity to Christmas: Feast of Dedication, Feast of Lights, Festival of Lights
haplology: n. - contraction of a word by omission of one or more similar sounds or syllables (ex. "probly" instead of "probably")
haptics: n. - the science of applying touch to interact with computer applications
hara-kiri: n. - (Japanese) in the ancient samurai culture: the more vulgar term for suicide by disembowelment, followed by beheading (done by the kaishaku): seppuku
harangue: n. (see also v.) - 1. a long, pompous speech addressed to a public assembly: lecture, oration, sermon 2. a ranting, angry, or forceful speech or writing: diatribe, invective, tirade
harbinger: n. - one that announces or foreshadows what is coming: portent, precursor
hardydardy: n. (see also adj.) - a daring fellow
herem: n. - (Judaism) the total separation of a person from the Jewish community, as decided by rabbis, especially for an extended or indefinite period of time: ban, banishment, ejection, exclusion, excommunication, shunning
harqus painting: n. - (Islam) dying the hands, feet, or face with colorful, intricate designs made of henna paste, lasting as long as several weeks
harrow: n. [see also v. & harrowing (adj.)] - a heavy frame with large spikes or upright disks underneath. It is dragged behind animals (such as horses) or a tractor (the most common method in modern times) over farmland to break up soil, root up weeds, cover seeds, level a plowed field, etc. {images: chain harrow, spike harrow, disk harrow}
haruspex: n. - a diviner in ancient Rome basing his predictions on inspection of the entrails of sacrificial animals: auger
Hasidism: n. - (Judaism) a Jewish mystic movement founded around 1750 in Poland by Baal Shem Tov in opposition to rationalism, excessive focus on Talmudic learning, and ritual laxity. It is characterized by devotion to the strict observance of ritual law, that one should serve God in one's every deed and word, and a belief that God's presence is in all of one's surroundings; represented today by fundamentalist communities in Israel and New York; literally, "piety" or "the pious"
hauteur: n. - haughty manner, spirit, or bearing: arrogance, haughtiness
hawker: n. - 1. falconer 2. one who sells wares on the street
hawkshaw: n. - someone who is a detective: dick, gumshoe
hebetude: n. - mental dullness or sluggishness
hectare: n. - a metric unit of area equal to 100 ares: 2.471 acres, 10,000 square meters
hedonophobia: n. - fear of feeling pleasure
Hegelian: n. (see also adj.) - a follower of the German philosopher Georg Hegel, whose philosophy of objective idealism used the dialectic of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis as an analytic tool
Hegelianism: n. - (Philosophy) the philosophy of Georg W.F. Hegel, which places ultimate reality in ideas rather than in things, proposes a unified solution to all philosophical problems through the development of a certain style of logical analysis (the framework of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis), and perceives of history as a dialectical process. Hegel also advocated a kind of historically-minded absolute idealism, in which the universe would realize its spiritual potential through the development of human society. His absolute idealism is often contrasted with the subjective or transcendental idealism of Kantianism
hegemony: n. - preponderant influence or authority over others: authority, control, domination, influence, leadership, predominance
Hegira: n. - (Islam) the emigration of the prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib in 622 CE to escape persecution. Afterwards the city was renamed Medina, which translates literally "City of the Prophet." Muslims date their calendars from this year and mark all years since with AH (after-Hegira); also spelled Hijra; literally, "migration," "withdrawl," or "flight"
hendecasyllabic: n. (see also adj.) - a verse of eleven syllables (mostly found in Italian poetry)
henotheism: n. - derived from Greek "one god" 1. the belief that, while other gods may exist, only one god is important in a particular place or to a particular people; the worship of only one god without denying the existence of other gods (Max Mï¿ller, who coined this term, cited the ancient Hebrews as one of many henotheistic cultures) 2. ascription of supreme divine attributes to whichever one of several gods is addressed at the time
hentai: n. - Japanese animation ("anime") or comic-book-style magazines ("manga") with graphic sexual content, literally translates "pervert/perversion". However, the Japanese prefer the terms '18-kin' ("18-prohibited," similar in effect to the US "R" rating) and 'seijin manga' ("adult manga"), and use 'hentai' only to mean a perverted person
heresimach: n. - an active opponent of heresy and heretics
hermeneutics: n. - 1. the art or science concerning the assumptions and rules of interpreting texts, especially the books of the Bible 2. the branch of theology that is concerned with explaining or interpreting religious concepts, theories, and principles
Hermes Trismegistus: n. - the name given to the Egyptian god Thoth by Greek neo-Platonists, who was ascribed authorship of various works on astrology, magic, religion, alchemy, and medicine. It was also believed that he had invented a magic seal to keep vessels airtight
hermitage: n. - 1. a place of isolation or solitude where somebody (a hermit) can live apart from society; a secluded residence or private retreat: hideaway 2. an isolated residence where a group of religious people live: abbey, monastery 3. the life or condition of a hermit 4. (Capitalized) a rich, full-bodied, red wine produced in southeast France
Hesychasm: n. - a movement in the Eastern Orthodox Church that one could see the divine, uncreated light of God through the practice of divine quietness, constant contemplative prayer, an elaborate system of asceticism, detachment from earthly cares, submission to an approved master, and perfect repose of body and will. Contemplation of this light was considered the highest end of man on earth the most intimate method of uniting with God. The movement had its roots in the 5th century, was developed by the monks of Mount Athos, Greece in the 14th century, and was popular in 19th-century Russia
heuristic: n. (see also adj.) - a commonsense rule (or set of rules) that reduces or limits the search for solutions in circumstances that are difficult or poorly understood; a helpful procedure for arriving at a solution but not necessarily a proof: educated guess, rule of thumb
hiatus: n. - 1. a break in or as if in a material object: gap 2. an interruption in time or continuity: break, pause
hibakusha: n. - (Japanese) a survivor of either of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945; literally, "somebody who suffers an explosion"
hierophant: n. - 1. an ancient Greek priest who interpreted sacred mysteries, especially the chief priest of the Eleusinian mysteries 2. one who teaches the mysteries and duties of religion; an interpreter of sacred mysteries or secret knowledge 3. one who explains or makes a commentary
hijab: n. - (Islam) 1. a headscarf worn by Muslim women to protect their modesty. It conceals the hair, neck and sometimes includes a veil which covers all of the face except for the eyes {image} 2. the custom in some Islamic societies of women dressing modestly outside the home; the institution of protection of women in some Islamic societies through veiling or seclusion
Hijra: n. - 1. (Islam) the emigration of the prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib in 622 CE to escape persecution. Afterwards the city was renamed Medina, which translates literally "City of the Prophet." Muslims date their calendars from this year and mark all years since with AH (after-Hijra); also spelled Hegira; literally, "migration," "withdrawl," or "flight" 2. (non-capitalized) a "migration" from a bad way of life to a more righteous one 3. (non-capitalized) in South Asia, a physically male or intersex person who has a non-male or female gender identity (people who would be called transgender, transsexual or androgynous in the West), or who recognize themselves as the socially recognized "third sex" or gender of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The hijra describe themselves as "neither man nor woman," though they usually refer to themselves with female pronouns and grammatical gender, and wish to be referred to as female. Also included are people born with ambiguous genitalia (intersex), transvestites, and eunuchs. Traditionally they perform as singers or dancers at religious festivals or on social occasions such as weddings. Historically they often held occupations as temple prostitutes. During British colonialism negative attitudes towards hijras were imported from Europe
hinterland: n. - 1. a region situated inland from a coast 2. an undeveloped region remote from urban areas: backwoods, back country, boondocks 3. a region situated beyond the major metropolitan or cultural centers
hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia: n. - fear of long words: sesquipedalophobia
hiragana: n. - (Japanese) this syllabic character set (kana) is used in Japan to represent native words, grammatical particles, and to complement the reading of kanji. It is a cursive, graceful writing system of curly, fluid strokes. Every character in this set has the exact same sound as it's name and most characters are made of a consonant sound followed by a vowel. This makes hiragana a syllabary rather than an alphabet
hobbledehoy: n. - an awkward, ungainly, or ill-mannered young man
Hobson's choice: n. - the choice of taking what is offered or nothing at all -- such as if a car salesman told you, "Well, that's the best deal I've got. You can take it, or you can leave it." The phrase refers to Thomas Hobson (15441631), a Cambridge stable manager who offered customers the choice of either taking the next horse in line or none at all.
hoi polloi: n. - ordinary people as opposed to the wealthy, well-educated, and cultivated elite; the general populace; the common people; the masses; the multitude; the many
holocaust: n. - 1. (Judaism) a religious sacrifice that is totally consumed by fire; burnt offering 2. (Capitalized) the systematic extermination of millions of European Jews, as well as Roma, Slavs, intellectuals, gay people, and political dissidents, by the Nazis and their allies during World War II. Often this word refers particularly to the extermination of European Jews 3. a wholesale, reckless destruction of human beings or animals, especially using fire
Holy of Holies: n. - 1. (Judaism) the innermost chamber inside the tabernacle of the Temple of Jerusalem, where the sacred Ark of the Covenant was kept. It was left in total darkness. No one was permitted to enter it except the high priest, and he could only enter once a year, on Yom Kippur (to sprinkle the blood of an animal upon the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat which sat on top of the ark): sanctum sanctorum 2. a place of revered holiness, awe, and often where only a select few are allowed entry
homeopathy: n. - (Pseudoscience) a long-debunked system for treating disease invented by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1700s, based on his principle that "like can be cured by like". A substance that would produce symptoms of the disease in healthy patients is repeatedly diluted and shaken to the point where it's virtually impossible that any of the substance remains. This is then given to sick patients in the form of a liquid, pill, etc.
homilophobia: n. - fear of sermons
homunculus: n. - 1. a tiny, fully-formed individual that (according to the discredited theory of preformation, which was popular during the 16th and 17th centuries) is supposed to be present in the sperm cell, and was thought to become a mature human merely by increasing in size 2. a person who is very small but who is not otherwise deformed or abnormal; a normal dwarf: manikin
honorific: n. - 1. a title, phrase, or grammatical form conveying respect (such as Mister, Miss, Doctor, The Honorable, or Your Excellency), used especially when addressing a social superior 2. an expression of respect
hoplophobia: n. - fear of firearms or weapons
horny layer: n. - the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis) consisting of dead and peeling cells. Its purpose is to protect underlying skin tissue from infection, dehydration, or other harm: stratum corneum
hortensia: n. - 1. deciduous shrub bearing round-headed flower clusters opening green and aging to pink or blue 2. very tall branching herb with showy much-doubled yellow flower heads: double gold, golden glow
houri: n. - 1. (Islam) one of the dark-eyed virgins of perfect beauty who attend faithful Muslim men in paradise 2. an alluringly beautiful young woman: nymph
hubris: n. - 1. having far more pride or self-confidence than one's abilities or accomplishments truly justify: arrogance, narcissism, over-confidence, self-delusion 2. (Ancient Greece) having greatly excessive pride in oneself, perhaps even challenging the gods, particularly when taking pleasure in humiliating others. In his work Rhetoric, Aristotle described hubris not in terms of pride, but of what is now commonly referred to as schadenfreude (taking pleasure in the misfortune or pain of others): "to cause shame to the victim ... merely for your own gratification. Hubris is not the requital of past injuries; that is revenge. As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this: men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater."
hugger-mugger: n. (see also adj., adv., & v.) - 1. a state of confusion or disorder: jumble, mess, muddle 2. a state of silence which hides something: concealment, secrecy, reticence 3. a ritual or process involving complicated and purposeless activity designed to confuse or hide information
hydrocephalus: n. - an abnormal accumulation of fluid the cavity of the cranium which causes enlargement of the skull and compression of the brain (especially in infants), destroying much of the neural tissue
hydrometer: n. 1. an instrument for determining the specific gravities of liquids, and thence the strength spirituous liquors, saline solutions, etc. 2. an instrument, variously constructed, used for measuring the velocity or discharge of water, as in rivers, from reservoirs, etc.; a current gauge
hyperbole: n. - extreme exaggeration, especially for dramatic effect
hypnagogic hallucinations: n. - vivid visions, dreams or hallucinations that may occur during the drowsy period as one is falling asleep (including the usually disturbing sensation of sleep paralysis) [see also: hypnagogic (adj.), hypnopompic hallucinations]
hypnophobia: n. - fear of being hypnotized or asleep
hypnopompic hallucinations: n. - vivid visions, dreams or hallucinations that may occur during the drowsy period as one is waking up (including the usually disturbing sensation of sleep paralysis) [see also: hypnagogic hallucinations, hypnopompic (adj.)]
hypochondria: n. - 1. a chronic obsession with imaginary health problems; an abnormal anxiety about having or developing a serious disease that one does not have and is not likely to get (also called: hypochondriasis) 2. plural of hypochondrium
hypochondrium: n. - the upper region of the abdomen just below the lowest ribs on either side of the epigastrium (the liver is found in the right hypochondrium)
hypocorism: n. - 1. a pet name or nickname 2. the use of pet names or nicknames
hypoglycemia: n. - (Medicine) having an abnormally low level of sugar in the blood
hyson: n. - a fragrant Chinese green tea with twisted leaves
hyssop: n. - 1. an unidentified plant described in the Bible, its twigs were used to sprinkle water during Hebrew purification rites 2. a fragrant blue-flowered plant of Europe and Asia, similar to mint, cultivated since medieval times as a medicinal herb and still used today in aromatherapy, alternative medicine, as well as for food seasoning
hysterical realism: n. - a literary genre characterized by exceptional length, frenetic action, offbeat characters, and long digressions on topics secondary to the story
ibn-: n. - (Islam) literally, "son of" in Arabic; used before or as part of proper name to indicate patrilineal descent. Also seen as bin or ben
ichthyophobia: n. - fear of fish
iconoclast: n. - (Greek) literally, "image breaker" 1. one who attacks and seeks to overthrow traditional or popular ideas, beliefs, institutions, customs, or values 2. one who destroys sacred religious images or opposes their use in worship 3. a member of an 8th-century movement in the Greek Orthodox Church that tried to end the use of icons
idealism: n. - (Philosophy) 1. a theory that the essential nature of reality lies in something "ideal" or non-physical (such as the spirit, the mind, consciousness, reason, or language) rather than in matter or the physical world [antonym: materialism, physicalism] 2. the theory that physical things do not exist independently or objectively, but are constructions produced in the mind and only exist in the sense that they are perceived; a theory that only mental states (not physical states) are knowable or that only the perceptible is real
ideograph: n. - a character symbolizing the idea of a thing without indicating the sounds used to say it (for example, a numeral [such as: 7] or a Chinese character)
ideophobia: n. - fear of ideas
idioglossia: n. - 1. a developmental speech difficulty in which a child substitutes different sounds for the correct ones, so that speech is intelligible only to parents or others familiar with it 2. a private form of speech invented by one child or by children who are in close contact (such as twins), and is unintelligable to anyone else 3. a pathological condition characterized by speech so distorted as to be unintelligible: idiolalia
idiolalia: n. - 1. a private or invented language: idioglossia 2. a mental state characterized by the use of invented language 3. artifacts of an early period
ihrï¿m: n. - (Islam) 1. the consecrated condition of a pilgrim on the way to Mecca, which he achieves through a certain process: he must clean himself, dye his nails, put on perfume, shave his head (though not always), trim his beard, and cut his nails 2. the clothing worn by a male Muslim pilgrim: two-meter long, white, seemless cotton cloths, one covers from the navel to the knees and the other is thrown over the left shoulder (women clothe themselves in long white robes that cover from head to feet, and in many cases cover the face with a mask)
ileum: n. - the last and usually the longest portion of the small intestine, extending from the jejunum (middle of the small intestine) to the large intestine
imï¿m: n. - (Islam) literally, "leader" 1. a man who leads prayers in a mosque 2. in the Shiite branch of Islam, a religious leader regarded as a direct descendant of Muhammad or Ali (the fourth Caliph) and appointed by Allah 3. in the Sunni branch of Islam, a leader of an Islamic community 4. a respected Islamic scholar, especially a founder of a school of theology or law
imbroglio: n. - 1. a confused mass: entanglement 2. an intricate or complicated situation (as in a drama or novel) 3. a violently confused or bitterly complicated argument: embroilment 4. an acutely painful or embarrassing misunderstanding
imprimatur: n. - (Latin) literally, "let it be printed" 1. an official license to print or publish something, especially in countries where the press is under censorship by the government or other officials: approval, endorsement, license, permission, sanction 2. (Roman Catholic) a license issued by a censor of the Catholic Church, giving official authorization to print or publish a book, pamphlet, etc.: cum licentia, cum privilegio, nihil obstat 3. an official statement of sanction, approval, or support
impudicity: n. - lack of modesty: shamelessness
inanition: n. - 1. the condition or quality of being empty: emptiness 2. exhaustion, as from lack of nourishment 3. lack of vitality or spirit: lassitude, lethargy
incarnadine: n. (see also v. & adj.) - the color red: bloodred, crimson
incunabula: n. - 1. the first or earliest stages in the development of anything: beginnings 2. existing copies of books printed from movable type in Europe prior to 1501 (the earliest years of printing) 3. artifacts of an early period
indictment: n. - 1. (Law) a formal, written accusation of a crime or other offense. In the U.S., once a grand jury issues an indictment, a trial against the defendant (the accused person or persons) is begun 2. any charge of wrongdoing, serious criticism, or cause for blame; an indication that something is wrong, a situation is bad, or someone deserves to be condemned
infrasound: n. - (Physics) sound waves too low in frequency to be heard by humans (generally, under 20 hertz). Though infrasounds cannot be "heard" in the traditional sense, experiments have shown they can cause seemingly spontaneous feelings of dread and awe. It is theorized this phenomenon may be responsible for some supernatural experiences -- such as hauntings. Some animals, such as elephants and whales, emit calls at infrasound frequencies. Also, this frequency range is used to monitor earthquakes [antonym: ultrasound]
ingnue: n. - 1. a naive girl or young woman 2. the stage role of a stereotypical naive girl or unsophisticated woman; an actress playing such a person
ingot: n. - metal that has been cast into a block or bar shape for convenient handling, shipping, or storage (light enough to handle, easy to stack, etc.). Ingots might be of a standard weight and guaranteed purity. The Federal Reserve stores gold in ingots {soft lead ingots and gold ingots}
injunction: n. - 1. a formal command or admonition, especially from somebody in a position of authority: directive, order 2. (Law) a court order compelling a party to do or refrain from a specific course of action
inkhorn: n. - a small, portable container made of horn or a similar material, formerly used to hold ink for writing, generally worn by writers in the girdle
inkhorn term: n. - an obscure, pretentious, bookish or unnecessary word, frequently borrowed from another language, and especially when made up by a writer or scholar using a Latin or Greek root. Controversy over these terms was rife during the transition from Middle English to early Modern English, especially between the mid-16th to the mid-17th centuries: vox barbara
insouciance: n. - lighthearted unconcern: nonchalance
interdict: n. (see also v.) - an ecclesiastical censure by the Roman Catholic Church withdrawing certain sacraments and Christian burial from a person or all persons in a particular district
interlacing: n. - a way to display a GIF file (a compressed bitmap graphic file) as it loads so that the viewer sees the entire graphic but in increasingly clear values. Some people like this option because viewers may be able to click the image before it fully downloads, reducing their waiting time
Interpol: n. - an association of national police and intelligence forces of almost 200 countries, established in 1923, that promotes cooperation and mutual assistance in apprehending international criminals and criminals who flee abroad to avoid justice. The headquarters of Interpol is in Paris, France
interregnum: n. - 1. the interval between two reigns; any period when a state is left without a ruler 2. a period of freedom during which there is no government, control, or authority 3. a temporary time during which government functions are suspended 4. any breach of continuity in an activity or series: gap, interval, lapse, pause
involute: n. (see also adj.) - 1. a curve or spiral that gradually tightens around an axis, circle, or curve; the curve traced by a point at the end of a non-stretchy string as it unwinds from a central circle; or, in the reverse direction, imagine winding up a yo-yo while keeping the string tight and holding the yo-yo still -- the path that the free tip of the string takes is the involute: coil, whorl {image} 2. any curve using a different curve or circle as its base or starting point {image}
ipse dixit: n. - (Latin) an unsupported assertion, usually by a person of standing; a dogmatic utterance which lacks evidence or proof; literally, "he himself said it": dictum
ipsedixitism: n. - an unsupported, arbitrary argument or a dogmatic assertion
ipsedixitist: n. - a dogmatic person
ipseity: n. - individual identity; the state of being oneself: selfhood
ipserotic: n. - centering one's sexual interest on one's-own body; to be in love with oneself sexually: Narcissism
ipsism: n. - masturbation: onanism
Islam: n. - a monotheistic religion based on the word of God as revealed to Muhammad during the 7th century CE. "Islam" is an Arabic word derived from the three-letter root s-l-m. Its meaning encompasses the concepts of peace, greeting, surrender, and commitment, and refers commonly to an individual's surrender and commitment to God the Creator through adherence to the religion by the same name
isocolon: n. - (Rhetoric) a figure of speech in which a series of grammatical parallels is reinforced by having members that are of the same length, as in "Veni, vidi, vici" ("I came; I saw; I conquered) --Julius Caesar and "I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse" --Charles V.
itinerant: n. (see also adj.) - one who travels from place to place
jackleg: n. (see also adj.) - 1. an unskilled or unscrupulous itinerant worker; an incompetent or untrustworthy person 2. someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike: strikebreaker 3. a percussion drill used for underground mining that is mounted on a telescopic leg which has an extension of about 8 feet. The leg and machine are hinged so that the drill need not be in the same direction as the leg {image}
Jagannath: n. - a form of the Hindu god Krishna. A statue of Jagannath is pulled through the Indian town of Puri every year on a huge chariot during the festival of Rathayatra: Juggernaut
jaggies: n. - the stair-step effect that takes place when a computer tries to draw circles and arcs: aliasing
Janus word: n. - a word that has two contradictory or opposite meanings, effectively making it an antonym of itself. Examples include sanction ("to allow or approve" and "to prohibit or restrict through punishment"), cleave ("to cling together" or "to be split or separated"), and overlook ("to inspect something carefully" or "to fail to notice something"): auto-antonym, contronym
japanophobia: n. - fear of the Japanese or Japanese culture
jawhole: n. - an open entrance to a sewer: cesspool
jejunum: n. - the middle section of the small intestine, between the duodenum and the ileum
jeopardy: n. - 1. exposure to or imminence of death, loss, or injury: danger, risk 2. the danger that an accused person is subjected to when on trial for a criminal offense
jerboa: n. - 1. a small nocturnal rodent that lives in arid regions of Asia and Africa and has large ears, a long tufted tail, and long hind legs adapted for leaping 2. a small marsupial with long hind legs and a long bushy tail that lives in central desert areas of Australia
jeremiad: n. - a prolonged lamentation or complaint; a cautionary or angry harangue
jetsam: n. - 1. cargo or equipment thrown overboard to lighten a ship in distress which sinks or is washed ashore: debris, jettison [see also: flotsam, lagan, ligan] 2. discarded odds and ends
jettison: n. (see also v.) - the cargo and equipment thrown from a distressed ship to lighten it: debris, jetsam [see also: flotsam, lagan, ligan]
jeunesse doree: n. - young people of wealth and fashion
jigsaw: n. (see also v.) - a power-driven saw with a narrow vertical blade, used to cut sharp curves: fretsaw, scroll saw
jihd: n. - (Islam) literally translated "effort on God's path," this word primarily refers to the struggle for personal ethical perfection, but includes any and all action to solve social, political, economic, or ecological problems, along with establishing the order desired by Allh. The word can also include political activity or armed struggle to defend or spread Islam, however, an offensive war can only be led by a legitimate successor to the prophet (none of whom remain today), so only defensive wars are allowed
jimjams: n. - heebie-jeebies, jitters, whim-whams
jingoism: n. - extreme nationalism (especially when joined with a belligerent foreign policy); fanatical, chauvinistic patriotism: superpatriotism, ultranationalism 2. an appeal intended to arouse patriotic emotions: flag waving
jollification: n. - a boisterous celebration; a merry festivity: conviviality, merrymaking, revelry
judo: n. - (Japanese) a martial art in which opponents use balance and body weight, with minimal physical effort, to throw each other or hold each other in a lock. Harmful blows or throws are not allowed. Judo was developed from jujitsu, a samurai art, by Dr. Jigoro Kano in 1882; literally, "soft art" or "gentle way"
Juggernaut: n. - a form of the Hindu god Krishna. A statue of Juggernaut is pulled through the Indian town of Puri every year on a huge chariot during the festival of Rathayatra: Jagannath
jujitsu: n. - (Japanese) a system of unarmed fighting devised by the samurai. The martial arts of judo, aikido, and karate are all developed from jujitsu; literally "soft art" or "gentle science"
Julian date: n. - as used in computer programming, the number of days that have elapsed since the beginning of the year
jumper: n. - a small, plastic, rectangular-shaped plug used on circuit boards to open or close certain circuits. Usually, a two- or three-prong pin sticks out of the circuit board, and the jumper slides over these pins
jurisprudence: n. 1. a system or body of law 2. the course of court decisions 3. the science or philosophy of law 4. a department of law
Ka'bah: n. - (Islam) an empty cube-shaped structure of granite containing a sacred stone Black Stone said to have been given by God. It is located in the city of Mecca, in modern-day Saudi Arabia. Traditionally the Ka'bah is thought to have been first built by Adam and later reconstructed by the prophet Abraham and his oldest son the prophet Ishma'il, about 4,000 years ago. The Ka'bah stands as the first building dedicated to the worship of the One God, though prior to the rise of Islam it was used as a shrine to numerous Arabian tribal gods. The Ka'bah is covered by a black and gold cloth embroidered with verses from the Qur'an. It is the holiest place in Islam. Muslims orient themselves toward this shrine during the five daily prayers. (Often spelled Kaaba)
Kabbalah: n. - (Judaism) a body of mystical teachings by Jewish rabbis, based on an esoteric interpretation of the hidden meanings in the Hebrew Scriptures; literally, "reception"
kabuki: n. - 1. a style of traditional Japanese drama which evolved out of Nō theater before the 17th century, characterized by elaborate costuming, rhythmic dialogue, stylized acting, music, miming, and dancing. Originally performed only by females, in 1629 women were banned from the stage to protect public morals (actresses were also prostitutes). However, the new male actors were prostitutes too (also to males). Today kabuki is still performed by a select group of male actors playing both male and female roles 2. (slang) a crack pipe made from a plastic rum bottle and a rubber sparkplug cover
kaishaku: n. - (Japanese) the assistant of a samurai committing ritual suicide (seppuku) who administers the coup de grace by beheading the condemned man
kakistocracy: n. - government by the worst people
kana: n. - (Japanese) 1. either of two writing systems (the hiragana and the katakana) representing syllables in spoken Japanese, each of which independently represents all the sounds of the language. The characters are usually used with kanji primarily to write inflections, particles, and function words and to show the pronunciations of some kanji and of all foreign words. The kana were developed in the ninth century AD from simplified kanji (which are based on Chinese characters). The two scripts serve different purposes and styles. Katakana symbols, which are more angular, are used for foreign words, some children's books and often for advertising in print media, television, and billboards. Hiragana is a cursive, graceful writing system that is used to spell out native Japanese words and to perform grammatical functions 2. any of the characters used in hiragana or katakana
kanji: n. - (Japanese) 1. a writing system for Japanese that uses approximately 5,000 pictorial characters borrowed or modified from Chinese ideograms. This character set is used to represent whole words or parts of words rather than sounds (in contrast, the kana represent sounds rather than words) 2. a written character used to represent a word in Japanese
kappa: n. - (Japanese) a mischievous mythical water imp or sprite of Japanese folklore, these were said to be green and scaly with a beak-like mouth, a slightly concave top of the head rimmed with a circle of hair, and sometimes the shell of a turtle
karate: n. - (Japanese) a traditional form of unarmed combat which involves striking sensitive areas on an attacker's body with the hands, elbows, knees, or feet, and accompanied by special breathing and shouts. It is taught professionally at different levels as a self-defense skill, a competitive sport, and a freestyle exercise; literally, "empty hand" or "bare hand"
katakana: n. - (Japanese) this syllabic character set (kana) is used in Japan for scientific terms, official documents, words adopted from other languages, advertising in print media, television, subtitles, billboards, some children's books, and the phonetic representation of difficult kanji characters in Japanese. They are characterized by short straight strokes and angular corners, and are the simplest of the Japanese scripts [see also: furigana, hiragana, kanji]
kathisophobia: n. - fear of sitting down
katzenjammer: n. - 1. the disagreeable aftereffects from the use of drugs (especially from drinking too much alcohol). Symptoms include headache, nausea, thirst, and sickness: hangover 2. a state of confused depression: angst, anguish, bewilderment, confusion, discouragement, distress, gloominess, melancholy 3. loud, confused noise from many sources; a discordant clamor: brouhaha, din, hubbub, uproar
Kegel exercises: n. - exercises done to increase muscle strength and elasticity in the female pelvis; used to help women improve their ability to hold urine, to improve sexual response (and achieve orgasm), and to diminish a variety of problems and discomfort due to pregnancy
Kemalism: n. - a movement founded by Kemal Atatrk (the first president of the Republic of Turkey, founded in 1923) which aimed to establish political and cultural affinity with Europe by replacing the ideological base of Islam with secularism, modernism, and nationalism
ken: n. - 1. the range of vision: sight, view 2. the range of perception, understanding or knowledge
kerchief: n. - a woman's square scarf, often worn as a head covering
Keynesian Economics: n. - an economic theory (named for John Maynard Keynes) which advocates government intervention to achieve full employment and stable prices: demand-side economics [antonym: Reaganomics, supply-side economics]
kibbutz: n. - in modern Israel, a collective farm owned by its members (children are reared collectively)
kibitzer: n. (see also v.) - (Yiddish) 1. an observer who offers unwanted advice, especially at a card game: meddler 2. one who engages in idle or distracting chatter, especially while others are trying to concentrate or discuss serious topics 3. one who offers opinions
killik: n. - a small anchor, especially one made of a heavy stone
kinesthesia: n. - the perception or sensing of the motion, weight, or position of the body as muscles, tendons, and joints move: muscle sense
king's ransom: n. - an extremely large amount of money; a very large treasure (this metaphoric expression originally referred to the enormous sum required to release a king from captivity if he were captured by his enemy's army)
kirtle: n. - 1. a man's knee-length tunic or coat, worn especially in the Middle Ages 2. a woman's long, loose dress or skirt, worn from the Middle Ages to the 17th century
kismet: n. - 1. the principle or determining cause or will by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are: destiny, fate 2. an inevitable and often adverse outcome
klatch: n. - (also spelled 'klatsch') an informal or small social gathering for refreshments (especially coffee) and casual conversation
kleptocracy: n. - a government characterized by rampant greed and corruption
kluge: n. - an improvised, technically inelegant solution to a problem
kolpophobia: n. - fear of female genitalia: eurotophobia
Koran: n. - (Islam) phonetically, the spelling "Koran" is incorrect. The more accurate Qur'an should be used. Therefore, see the definition at Qur'an
Kuiper belt: n. - (Astronomy) a ring or disk of icy objects in the outer solar system (just beyond Neptune, mostly between 30 and 50 times Earth's distance from the Sun). It is believed that short-period comets (those whose orbits last fewer than 200 years) are Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) which have been pulled out of their normal orbits by the gravitational pull of Neptune. Beyond the Kuiper belt is the scattered disk, which may be material ejected out of the inner solar system by encounters with Uranus and Neptune. Much farther beyond that disk is the theorized Oort cloud. The first Kuiper belt object was discovered in 1992. Pluto -- with its unusual orbit, icy composition, and small size (compared with the eight planets) -- is the largest object of the Kuiper belt. It is named for Gerard Kuiper, the Dutch-born American astronomer who theorized its existence in 1951. (Because Kenneth Edgeworth had made a similar proposal as early as 1943, this region is sometimes called the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt). There are at least 70,000 Kuiper belt objects having diameters of more than 62 miles (100 km). Kuiper rhymes with "viper" (see also: Oort cloud) {diagram}
kugelblitz: n. - (Theoretical Astrophysics) according to General Relativity, a kugelblitz is a black hole formed by a critical amount of energy (as opposed to a critical amount of matter). Specifically, if a concentration of light became hotter than 141 billion billion billion Kelvin, it might form an event horizon, become self-trapped, and warp spacetime into a black hole
kukri: n. - a heavy, curved knife broadening towards the point, used by the Gurkhas in Nepal for hunting and fighting {image}
kumquat: n. - 1. any of several small yellow to orange citrus fruits with sweet spongy rind and somewhat acidic pulp that are used chiefly for preserves 2. a tree or shrub that bears kumquats
kung fu: n. - (Chinese) an ancient Chinese method of self-defense by striking blows at vulnerable areas of an attacker's body using fluid, circular movements of the hands and legs. It principles combine those of karate and judo; literally, "merit master"
knstlerroman: n. - (German) a novel that traces the growth of a writer's creative genius from childhood to maturity, with particular attention to major trials and obstacles and their influence on the development of the artist's character and work; literally, "artist-novel": apprenticeship novel [see also: bildungsroman]
kvetch: n. (see also v.) - (Yiddish) 1. someone who constantly grumbles or complains 2. a complaint about something