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What’s On First? (Your All-Star Word Ballot)

Victor Wishna

Staff Writer

Victor Wishna's work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Baltimore Sun, the New York Post, NPR,, and others. His writing and editing services firm, The Vital Word helps find the right words for nonprofit, corporate, and individual clients. Follow him on Twitter: @vwishna.

I write to you from Kansas City, host of the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game this Tuesday. As you can imagine, there is much talk here now about baseball and All-Stars and economic impact dollars. As much as I am a sports fan, words remain the real stars of my world. So what would an All-Star Word Team look like? Let’s see…

Below, find the finalists for these coveted All-Star Word positions, selected for nomination semi-randomly, with extreme care, from one of my new favorite web sites, The Vocabula Review. All of them, I’m sure you’ll agree, are outstanding in their own right, with loads of talent and promise. But which ones are real All-Stars? Please feel free to vote for your favorite candidates or write in your own. With enough votes, the 2012 All-Star Word Team will be announced here on Tuesday.

Qualities to consider when voting: A true All-Star Word should be reliable and strong, as well as quick and versatile, powerful and potentially game-changing, and capable of the occasional curve ball, while holding its team (sentence, paragraph, etc.) together.



___ fulgurous  (FOOL-gyer-es)  adj.  1. emitting flashes of lightning. 2. emitting flashes similar to lightning.

___ spirituel  (spir-i-choo-EL)  adj.  having or evidencing a refined mind and wit.

___ verisimilitude  (ver-ah-si-MIL-i-tood)  n.  1. the appearance of being true or real. 2. something that has the appearance of being true or real.

___ [write-in]



___ halcyon  (HAL-see-un)  adj.  1. peaceful; tranquil. 2. carefree; joyful. 3. golden; prosperous.

___ epithalamium  (ep-i-tha-LA-mee-um)  n.  a song or poem in honor of a bride or bridegroom or both; nuptial song.

___ funambulist  (fyoo-NAM-byah-list)  n.  a tightrope walker.

___ [write-in]


First Base

___ logocracy  (loh-GOK-rah-cee)  n.  a community or system of government in which words are the ruling powers.

___ mythopoeic  (mith-ah-PEE-ik)  adj.  1. of or relating to the making of myths 2. serving to create myths; productive in mythmaking.

___ puration  (ep-yah-RAY-shun)  n.  purification, especially removal of officials or politicians believed to be disloyal; purge.

___ [write-in]


Second Base

___ microcephaly  (mi-kro-SEF-ah-lee)  n.  abnormal smallness of the head.

___ zephyr  (ZEF-er)  n.  1. the west wind. 2. a gentle breeze. 3. any of various soft fabrics, yarns, or garments. 4. something that is airy, insubstantial, or passing.

___ virga  (VUHR-gah)  n.  rain or snow that evaporates before hitting the ground.

___ [write-in]


Third Base

___ rebarbative  (ree-BAR-bah-tiv)  adj.  tending to irritate; repellent.

___ selcouth  (sel-KOOTH)  adj.  1. unfamiliar; unusual; strange. 2. marvelous; wonderful.

___ gourmand  (goor-MAHND)  n.  1. a lover of fine foods. 2. a glutton.

___ [write-in]



___ hellion  (HEL-yen)  n.  a mischievous, troublesome, or unruly person.

___ imbenignity  (im-be-NIG-ni-tee)  n.  unkindness.

___ anfractuosity  (an-frak-choo-OS-i-tee)  n.  1. the condition or quality of having many twists or turns. 2. a winding channel, passage, or crevice. 3. a complicated or involved process.

___ [write-in]



___ sanguinolent  (sang-GWIN-ah-lent)  adj.  mixed or tinged with blood.

___ ecophobia  (ek-oh-FOH-bee-ah)  n.  1. fear of one’s home. 2. a feeling of powerlessness to prevent cataclysmic environmental change.

___ dyscalculia  (dis-kal-KYOO-lee-ah)  n.  inability to solve math problems, usually as a result of brain dysfunction.

___ dasypygal  (dah-si-PI-gul)  adj.  having hairy buttocks.

___ multiparous  (mul-TIP-er-es)  adj.  having given birth two or more times. 2. giving birth to more than one offspring at a time.

___ doppelganger  (DOP-el-gang-er)  n.  1. a ghostly counterpart to a living person. 2. a double; alter ego; a person who has the same name as another.

___ bumptious  (BUMP-shes)  adj.  offensively assertive or pushy.

___ spicery  (SPI-sah-ree)  n.  1. spices considered as a group. 2. the aromatic or pungent quality of spices. 3. a place where spices are stored.

___ bedizen  (be-DIZ-en)  v.  to dress or adorn in a cheap or gaudy way.

___ [write-in]


Designated Hitter

___ hubris  (HYOO-bris)  n.  overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance.

___ interlocutor  (in-ter-LOK-yah-ter)  n.  1. someone who takes part in a conversation, often formally or officially. 2. the performer in a minstrel show who is placed midway between the end men and engages in banter with them.

___ tergiversate  (tur-JIV-er-sat)  v.  1. to use evasions or ambiguities; equivocate. 2. to change sides; to become a renegade; apostatize.

___ [write-in]