Words words words (HLD 152)

21 Aug 2020

In my HLD ideas notes, I’ve had for a while two words – icosahedron, and sesquipedalian.

I’ve wanted to include them in a bit of diarrhoea, but I’d already written about big words and felt that I shouldn’t go over old ground. But I’m comfortable enough that you have all forgotten about that edition, so we will talk again about some big words.

An Icosahedron is a 20 sided object, known to many as the shape of a magic 8 ball or various puzzles dice. Technically (because I’m sure you need to know this), it’s a polyhedron with 20 faces.

And quite topically, a sesquipedalian is someone who uses big words.

I put a little bit of time into looking up big words. I immediately got distracted by the word callipygian which means having shapely buttocks. You would have got distracted by that one too, if you’re honest.

I was going to try to write the whole edition today using big words but that would have been a bit too grandiloquent (verbally pompous) of me, and may have been deleterious (harmful) to our relationship.

While excogitating (planning) today’s bit of diarrhoea, I realise that this will come across as if I’m gasconading (to boast, brag) about my knowledge of the English language. But even those of you who are saxicolous (live under a rock – or on a rock, depending on which article you read) will realise that I have simply googled “big words”…

Before I turn you all into winebibbers (one who drinks too much wine) let me throw in a few more names for multi sided objects – just in case you’re on a quiz show one day and you need to know this.

A Tetrakaidecagon is a 14 sided polygon, and Chiliagon is a 1000 sided polygon. There you go – you need wonder no more.

I’m sure you are all possessed with Eunoia (a normal state of mental health, or a well mind) (also the shortest English word to contain all five vowels), but I’m not taking any credit for you being gruntled (pleased, satisfied and contented).

We have, however, reached the quatervois (crossroads) in the blog where I could blabber on forever or leave you with a nice thought to finish up on.

One word I enjoyed reading about was desideratum — something needed or wanted. This led into googling the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. It’s always been a lovely poem in my mind, never more so than our current word situation.

So please ignore all the other words mentioned earlier and admire the much simpler words put into a lovely format.


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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