Of Quockerwodgers and Zugzwangs: Six Words You Should Know

"quockerwodger" illustrated by Project Twins

I’ve heard it said that computer programmers feel empowered when they write code because they possess the ability to make things happen. I feel similarly when I learn new vocabulary. Suddenly, I have the means to succinctly expresses a previously indescribable feeling or situation. I am, quite obviously, a big word nerd.

"tarantism" illustrated by Project Twins

Thanks to this Brainpickings post, I now know that “tarantism” is not just the title of a 2002 album by gothy riot grrrls, Subtonix. It’s a word that means “a disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to dance”.

"scripturient" illustrated by Project Twins

While I don’t suffer from tarantism (a fact that’s good for all of us), I do lean toward being fairly scripturient. In fact, you could say that my violent desire to write is also my hamartia (but you’ll have to click through to see what I mean). Incidentally, each of these words has been lovingly illustrated by The Project Twins. A postcard book of their entire alphabet is unfortunately sold out, but prints of particular words are still available here. If you can’t get enough “designer vocabulary,” check out another artist’s interpretation here.

Click through for three more words. I promise your actions will not produce a zugzwang.

"hamartia" illustrated by Project Twins

"pogonotrophy" illustrated by Project Twins

"zugzwang" illustrated by Project Twins