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am – an Archive


Posted December 5, 2015 By Joel

Androgynous is an adjective that, when used properly, applies only to highly processed foods. An androgynous food has at least three, and possibly more, ingredients that are completely unpronounceable by all but the mad scientists who coined their names.

Most nutritionists advise against consuming large quantities of androgynous foods. Most health food advocates advise against eating even small quantities of them. And members of New Age cults that demand that their members consume only organic, all-natural substances will not allow their adherents to come within three miles of an androgynous food.

Be that as it may, to be on the safe side, if you buy a tub of, say, margarine at a store with a “no returns” policy and you don’t bother to read the label until you get home and only then see that it contains more than a half dozen unpronounceable ingredients, you would be well advised to:

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Posted December 5, 2015 By Joel

An andiron is a football field that doesn’t have any yard lines marked on it.

There could be a number of reasons for the lack of lines on the field. For example:

  • The groundskeeper might not have gotten around to it because there aren’t any games scheduled for a while.
  • The groundskeeper was supposed to have already laid down the lines, but before he did he got incredibly, nauseatingly inebriated and was locked up in the drunk tank at the police station for being pissed out of his mind, disorderly and criminally reckless with chalk.
  • The owner of the field was too cheap to spring for lines.
  • The lines were there, but they were stolen and fenced on the blackmarket for the value of the chalk.

Of course, the above are only examples. It doesn’t matter why there are no yard lines. If there aren’t any and it’s intended to be a football field then it’s properly referred to as an andiron. (Contrast andiron with grid iron, the latter of which will likely never be defined by The Words Project.)


Posted December 4, 2015 By Joel

Andante is an adjective that describes the relative cooking time of pasta or, rather, one particular pasta cooking style.

The dictionary we are using to create our words list does not include the term al dente. This is fortunate for us here at The Words Project because it means that we can use the term al dente in our definition of andante without screwing it up by defining the terms inconsisently.

So, here goes. Whereas al dente means slightly undercooked, andante means grossly overcooked. And when we say grossly we do, indeed, mean grossly.In fact, that hardly does it justice.

(Now that we come to think of it, we didn’t need to include al dente in this definition after all. Oh, well. Never mind. We’re too lazy to pull it out now.)

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Posted December 4, 2015 By Joel

And is an adjective that means effeminate. One has to be careful when using the word and to describe a man. When the word was first coined it was exceptionally derogatory. As attitudes toward gender identity became more fluid it lost much of its bite, but some people still consider and to be, not just politically incorrect, but almost criminally so.

As we mentioned, the connotation(s) of and are evolving. Among enlightened people, rather than being the least bit derogatory, it has become a compliment. Saying that a man is “and” is coming to mean that he is getting in touch with his “feminine side.” There is some disagreement as to what this means, but it most frequently suggests that he is more cognitive of and sensitive to his own and other people’s feelings. This is often considered to be a good thing except by exceptionally redneck macho men and by women who are invested only in “bad boy” men.

Unless you know where the people you are talking or writing for are on the exceptionally-derogatory to very-complimentary scale in terms of their view of the usage of and you should be careful how you use the word. Even if you do know where they stand on the word, if they think you are at the other end of the spectrum than where you indeed are, you might get your nosed punched, or worse, if you describe a man as and.


Posted December 1, 2015 By Joel

An ancillary (noun) is a place where ancillas are made. This makes ancillaries probably the most unusual places on the planet because ancillas became obsolete with the invention of the wheel. Some artisans continued to make ancillias for a couple hundred years after the first wheel was crafted on earth, but none are known to have been built for probably at least five millennia or so.

What makes ancillaries particularly weird is that it has been at least a few millennia since anyone has had the foggiest of ideas as to what an ancilla is. Its shape, size, colour, components (if it did, indeed, have components rather than being a single solid unit) or why the wheel made it obsolete is completely unknown. All knowledge of ancillia has long since been thrown into dustbin of history and disintegrated there without leaving so much as a trace.

Not surprisingly, no one living today knows if ancillaries were buildings of any sort, caves or just clearings where ancilla-makers gathered to make their ancillas. In fact, it’s entirely possible that making an ancilla was a one-person job and an ancillary was wherever the ancilla-maker was at the time he or she made an ancilla.

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Posted December 1, 2015 By Joel

Ancient is virtually the opposite of prescient and more. (At least, until The Words Project gets its mitts on the word prescient and, then, who knows?) There are two related definitions of ancient, both of them adjectives and both of them contrast with the current definition of prescient. Whereas prescient (for now) means being able to foresee events before they occur, if you are ancient you are either:

  1. Regularly absolutely convinced that you know what will happen in the future, but you are always as wrong as wrong can be about your predictions.
  2. Always entirely wrong about what you are convinced happened in the past and is happening now.

Someone who is ancient by the first definition of the word should generally not bet on sporting events, the stock market or anything else that depends on a future outcome. The exception to this rule is an ancient person who is willing to bet on the opposite of what his or her intuition says will happen.

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Posted November 30, 2015 By Joel

Anchovy is an adjective that is used to describe people who, more often than not, use salty, i.e., down-to-earth or coarse, language. In more repressed times, anchovy people would have alternatively been referred to as satanic foul-mouthed barbarians. Even that probably understates the saltiness of the language of someone who could correctly be described as being anchovy.

At one time, in highly refined, cultured families (which in no way refers to yoghurt), if a young woman brought an anchovy guy home to meet her parents, her parents would not only have forbidden her to go out with him, but would have grounded her until her 35th birthday for ever having been so foolish to think, even for one wild, impetuous fraction of a second, that he would be a suitable date for her.

Needless to say, things are somewhat more relaxed and permissive in most families these days. Now, anchovy people can get away with saying pretty much fucking anything without necessarily being discounted by parents as prospective matches for their children. In fact, these days, even if their normal manner of discourse is uncommonly “proper,” said children would likely become exceptionally anchovy themselves if their parents even tried judging them and their dates.

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Posted November 30, 2015 By Joel

Anchorite is, by far, the heaviest element known to science. And “by far” doesn’t begin to do it justice. What’s more, anchorite is so weird that even science is denying its existence out of fear that science might be shunned at parties if it recognizes anchorite.

Wiener Von Chienchaud is a virtually unknown physicist who is said (although the claims are doubted in rational circles) to be very highly regarded in a psychotic savant sort of way by the three people who know him: A homeless person who hangs out in the general vicinity of Von Chienchaud’s home in Beenbahd, Germany; a ballerina who Von Chienchaud once tripped in a vain attempt to meet her (she snarled and walked on after getting his particulars for insurance and lawsuit purposes); and his “cleaning lady,” whom he pays generously to come in once a week and “clean his clock” (wink, wink; nudge, nudge; say no more, say no more). Von Chienchaud is also the only physicist—or person of any occupation for that matter—who has ever been able to isolate, capture and study an anchorite atom.

At last count, Von Chienchaud found that an anchorite atom, or, at least, his anchorite atom, has approximately 1,348,538,353,210,042 protons and 1,423,431,843,987,442 neutrons. However, he hasn’t finished counting, so both numbers may, in reality, be much higher. Von Chienchaud has not yet had a chance to count the electrons in his pet atom, but he plans to do that after lunch.

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Posted November 29, 2015 By Joel

Despite what one might think upon hearing the word, anchorage is not a precise age. Instead, it is a range of ages that varies from person to person. Anchorage starts at an imprecise moment that depends on the mental and physical condition of the individual in question and continues beyond the death of that person.

Anchorage begins at the point when someone feels that age is weighing him or her down. The definition of “weighing down” is strictly up to the individual to whom it refers. For example, some people might feel that they have reached anchorage when they are not able to walk quite as far or fast or can’t carry heavy parcels as easily as they once could. Others might not think of themselves as being in anchorage until they have much more serious age-related mobility and other muscle and joint issues. While still others might consider anchorage to have commenced only when they have cognitive impairments that prevent them remembering, for example, where they live or parked their car or how and where to urinate or defecate when necessary.

Some people look forward to entering anchorage and exaggerate their condition so they can guilt-trip family, friends and strangers into doing things for them due to their advanced age. If you’ve got to get old, you might as well take advantage of it—or so they say.

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Posted November 28, 2015 By Joel

Anchor, a verb, is the act of trying and succeeding to get a married king to get his current marriage annulled so he can and does marry you and then, as queen, trying (whether you fail or succeed) at not getting beheaded when your husband, the king, orders that you stand trial for high treason.

The history of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, is obviously the source of the verb anchor.

At first, this sequence of actions was known as Anne Boleyn’s chore. Then, because that was too cumbersome to say every time it was called for, it was shortened to Anne’s chore. Then, the capitalization was dropped and it was concatenated to anne’schore to make it more of a normal verb. Finally, after a few more iterations of abbreviation, because most people are lazy bastards, it was shortened to its current form, anchor.

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