An interesting word, ruined

Today’s Word of the Day at Nympholepsy struck me as both fascinating and unusable.

I find it fascinating because it seems like a combination of nymphomania and epilepsy, which presents an amusing mental image.

It’s unusable, at least in polite company, because anything prefixed with “nympho-” will invariably generate salacious connotations.

The definitions given are:
1. an ecstasy supposed by the ancients to be inspired by nymphs.
2. a frenzy of emotion, as for something unattainable.

The etymology itself strikes me as delightful:

Nympholepsy stems from the Greek nympholeptos , “caught by nymphs.”

I’m quite fond of the word.  But, sadly, I don’t think I’ll be using it in conversation any time soon.


About Dan Kingsepp, ACS, ALS
I'm starting this blog to share my thought on the use of the English language and my experiences as a Toastmaster.

5 Responses to An interesting word, ruined

  1. darksidjen says:

    So…hey…what is up with the nymph picture? Are there no mail nymphs? That seems a bit sexist to me : ) And I double dog dare you to fit the word into game night on Saturday! Subtlety of course.

    • Silly. You know nymphs are an all female race. They mated with humans, gods or satyrs. You never see female satyrs now. Do you?

    • And, I accept your dare…

  2. You might not be able to use it in conversation, but it sure made an interesting Toastmasters blog post! – Brian Simpson, CC, ALB

    • Thanks. I just caught your comments. WordPress thought they were spam.

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