the fifth word herd

Ithyphallic — a type of meter used in ancient Greek poetry. Credited to Archilochus, the meter was that of the Bacchic hymns, which were sung in the rites during which (presumably wooden) phalluses were carried in procession at these festivals. It is used now to mean having an erect penis, usually used of figures in an art representation, and for the prudes among us, also means obscene or lewd.


Mouche — a soul patch (also known as a flavor saver, a lady pleaser, or a jazz dot). It is a single small patch of facial hair just below the lower lip and above the chin. It was popular in the 1950s and 1960s, a style of facial hair common among African-American men, most notably jazzmen. It became popular with beatniks, artists, and those who frequented the jazz scene and moved in literary and artistic circles. Jazz flute players who disliked the feel of the flute mouthpiece on a freshly shaven lower lip often sported the look. On the other hand, jazz trumpeters preferred the goatee for the comfort it provided when using a trumpet mouthpiece. The word comes from the Latin musca, meaning fly. It is a French word, pronounced “moosh.”


Octothorpe — the telephone keypad symbol #; also called pound, number sign, hash, or crosshatch. This key and the asterisk key were introduced by Bell Laboratories in the early 1960s on the then-new touch-tone telephones. Don MacPherson, a Bell Labs engineer, coined the word from octo- (for the eight points) and Thorpe. Mr. MacPherson helped lobby for the return of Jim Thorpe’s Olympic medals. His medals were taken away after it was revealed that he was not strictly an amateur, having been paid for playing baseball when he was a youth. The medals were posthumously restored in 1981.


Pandiculation — an instinctive stretching of oneself, as upon awakening, or when yawning, the way a cat does. The word comes from the Latin verb pandere, to stretch. (1610s)


Pogey — Canadian slang for unemployment or welfare benefit. It’s derived from the Scottish word “pogie” which means workhouse. In the 1500s, a workhouse was where beggars, children and others unable to support themselves were sent to work and in turn be taken care of. The current sense dates from the 1960s.

And, guess what? There was a Celtic rock band called Pogey.

  One thought on “the fifth word herd

  1. November 18, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    An interesting herd, here, Lea! That “ithyphallic” went from describing a meter in poetry to the state of a penis in a work of art shows you just how plastic language can be. And “pandiculation” was totally new to me. Thanks!


    • November 18, 2020 at 3:17 pm

      Ithyphallic and pendiculation were both new to me. I suppose that’s why I enjoy doing these articles; I’m always learning something new.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Leanne Taylor
    November 22, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Thank you for wrangling another great herd into your blog, Lea!
    Did you know that there’s a brand of shoes called “Pandere”? They streeeeetch.


    • November 22, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      LOL! Interesting to know about the shoes!


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