Thursday, June 3, 2010


I haven’t had a good new word in a long time. Until yesterday.

According to my rules, to rate as “good” a word has to have the cachet of “crapulous.” (And in case you don’t know the word “cachet” - which also is a good word - it means a mark or sign showing something is genuine, authentic, or of superior quality)

Anyway, yesterday I came across a good new word quite by accident – the accident being my old beat-up red Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary falling to the floor and opening to a random page. And as I looked down I saw the word “vomitory.” Upon seeing it, I hoped it would prove to have a meaning that I could remember if the occasion arose.

Vomitory is a splendid word that should be used in crossword puzzles. Perhaps it IS but maybe I just don’t work on the kinds of crossword puzzles that might use it, like the Sunday New York Times Crossword.

But in reading on in good old Webster’s, I realized I have used a vomitory many times in my life. Just saying that would mislead someone into thinking that maybe a vomitory is a toilet bowl, but no. It is one of the tunnel-like passageways of an amphitheater or stadium between the seats and the outside wall. Simple, huh? I would guess most of you, like me, have ambled through a vomitory many times in going to football or baseball games, rock concerts, horse races, or Billy Graham Crusades.

Further descriptions of this word indicate a vomitory is any kind of passage through which material (animal, rock or mineral, I would guess) is disgorged. So I see where the word “vomit” comes into play. I am imagining that our esophagus could actually be considered a vomitory.

Oh dear, there are all kinds of things one thinks of as possible applications of this new word. But as for me, I’ll merely save it until the next time Jer and I have occasion to enter a stadium. Right now, in my mind’s eye, I can see Jerry standing in his gladiator costume, helmet on and sword in hand, saying in stentorian tones “Lo, the Vomitory.” Can’t you just see it too?

Oh what fun to have a new word! Let’s use it, folks!

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