I didn't come across any excellent words during my reading this week, so the five below are all from my original list that has been waiting on me for years. Of course, what this means is that I have no idea where I found these words, nor do I know the context. But I can still have fun with definition-guessing!
1. Pathos. One of the Three Musketeers, right? (Yeah, I can see you rolling your eyes). This is one of those words that I'm sure everyone knows except for me. Does it have something to do with passion? Or angst? Or angsty passion? Webster says: An element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion; an emotion of sympathetic pity. Looks like I'm not off to a good start. No points for me. (By the way, just for good measure, I looked up Athos, Porthos and Aramis. None of them are in my dictionary. And as a bonus, here is a related word: Bathos. Insincere or overdone pathos; sentimentalism. Exceptionally trite, commonplace, and anticlimactic.)
2. Cystologist. Why is this word on my list? I am almost 99.9% sure it would refer to someone (namely, a doctor) who studies the bladder. Wouldn't you just love to know what the heck kind of book I read that used this word? (I assure you it wasn't a medical textbook). Webster says: Nothing. This word is not in my dictionary. Obviously it's not unabridged. Google says: Specialist of the bladder. Ding ding ding!
3. Cetologist. For some reason I have the idea that this is someone who studies whales. Aren't whales cetaceans? Webster says: A branch of zoology dealing with the whales. w00t!
4. Shanghaied. Taken advantage of by trickery? Webster says: Put aboard a ship by force often with the help of liquor or a drug; to put by force or threat of force into a place of detention; to put by trickery into an undesirable position. Full points. Even though I probably don't deserve them because my guess wasn't quite specific enough.
5. Pedantic. I'm thinking that someone who preaches in a condescending manner could be described with this word. Webster says: Narrowly, stodgily, and often ostentatiously learned; unimaginative, pedestrian; being a pedant (who would parade his learning and unduly emphasize minutiae in the presentation or use of knowledge). A pedant wouldn't give me a whole point for my guess but I'm taking it anyway.
Four out of five points for me tonight. How did you do?